Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday made a mild switch to deprivation and basic infrastructure while addressing an election rallies in Tamil Nadu’s Theni and Ramnathapuram constituencies.
The PM probably chose to keep aside his nationalist jingoism as there has been widespread resentment in the two places over the lack of infrastructure and basic amenities. No party has ever done anything substantial on Theni’s decades-long demand for a rail line.
“Coming to Ramanathapuram reminds one of the great Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam. Kalam had several dreams for our nation; it is our duty to fulfill those dreams and take India to new heights of growth and glory,” the PM said.
For the Ramanathapuram region, the focus would be on connectivity and tourism. “Work is fast progressing on doubling of railway tracks between Rameswaram and Dhanushkodi. The 100-year-old Pamban Bridge has been transformed into a state-of-the-art one.” Talking about the issues over Sabarimala and Triple Talaq, he said the Congress and the DMK were against the culture of our land.
The PM chose to ‘empathise’ with the masses and said he was aware of the issues of the constituency. “I know your struggle with the railways. Our government will bring rail connectivity to the region,” he said.
He said the Tejas train linked Madurai with Chennai and the Karur-Trichy electric train would be a reality soon.
Appealing to the huge farmer community in Theni, he said he was aware of the issues of farmers. “River Vaiga will be cleaned up like the ganga,” he said. Statingthat the farmers were the soul of the country, the PM said the government had ensured a rise of 1.5 per cent in minimum support price.
Reminding people of his continued vigil over matters, he said, “This chowkidar is with you.” He said the opposition could not keep pace with the strides made by India in th past five years.
Taking a swipe at the DMK-Congress combine, he said those who were ‘sworn enemies’ had joined hands despite the national party having ‘humiliated’ its southern ally in the past. “Today, India is rapidly making a mark in the world. The Congress, DMK and their Mahamilavati friends cannot accept this. That is why they are unhappy with me,” he said.
“Some days ago, DMK supremo (Stalin) projected the Naamdar (dynast–Gandhi) as PM (candidate) but no one was ready to accept it, not even their Mahamilavati friends, because they are in line to be PM and dream of the post,” he said, without naming anyone.
Even during the 2G spectrum allocation scam, centered around then Telecom Minster A Raja of the DMK, the Dravidian party’s leaders were criticising the national party, which was leading the ruling UPA, he pointed out.
Addressing the gathering, Tamil Nadu chief minister E Palaniswami said the government would get water from the Periyar for the farmers. He added that the Godavari schemes would be completed soon.
In Theni, TN deputy chief minister O Pannerselvam’s son P Ravindranath Kumar is contesting. AMMK is fielding Thangatamilchelvan and Congress, EVKS Elangovan.