Tamil Nadu Chief Minister E Palaniswami is apparently adopting a new campaign strategy -one that focuses more on his government’s achievements rather than attacking the opponents.
Palaniswami is on a two-day visit to Coimbatore. His second day campaigning in Coimbatore, Sunday (January 24), coincided with Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s visit to the Kongu belt. The chief minister, however, concentrated only on Coimbatore.
Palaniswami ensures that wherever he campaigns, he visits famous temples in the area. This is significant at a time when there is discussion over temples being run by the government.
Thrust on agriculture
Since Coimbatore district has the second largest farming population in the state after the Delta region, Palaniswami’s campaign centred around agriculture.
“This region is rich in banana cultivation. In order to increase the income of the farmers through this crop, I recently had an interaction with the space scientist Mylsami Annadurai (who also hails from this district). He gave us some of ideas to convert the entire plantain tree into value added products. This is a ₹ 400 crore project and we will soon implement it,” said the chief minister.
The state has also taken ‘Kudimaramathu’ (water resources maintaining) scheme to a large extent and the farmers are reaping its benefits now, he added.
“Similarly, we have taken various river-linking projects to help our farmers. In Pollachi, to meet the water needs for coconut agriculture, we are trying hard to link Malaiyaru and Nallaru rivers. We are discussing this with the Kerala government. With regard to increase in the price of Copra coconut, it was by our perseverance that the price was raised from ₹77 per kilo to ₹99.47. But farmers demanded more. So when I met the prime minister a couple of days before, I urged him to increase the price to ₹150,” the chief minister said.
Fulfilling expectations, Palaniswami has promised that his government is in the process of preparing a detailed project report on Athikkadavu-Avinashi water scheme, which the district has been demanding for more than two decades.
“Keeping in mind that this region has large number of industries, we have ensured that there would be no power cuts here,” he said.
Given the district is known for having a large number of educational institutions, Palaniswami reminded cadres that his government has established 11 medical colleges and six law colleges in the state. He also claimed that his government has distributed 52 lakh laptops to government school students.
“We cancelled hydrocarbon projects, made Delta region as ‘Protected Agriculture Zone’, brought Cauvery water and gave 7.5 per cent reservation to government school students who cleared the NEET exam. Because of our many schemes and projects, we were awarded many national level awards. We are the only state which has won the highest number of such awards,” he said.
The chief minister took a swipe at Rahul Gandhi’s visit to the region, saying he can face any number of “hands”, referring to the Congress’ campaign name ‘Oru Kai Paarppom’ (Let Us See) for Rahul’s visit.
‘DMK will break into pieces’
While attacking the DMK, the co-coordinator of the AIADMK criticised the former’s ‘People Gram Sabha’, its alleged corruption cases and dynasty politics.
“The DMK is organising a drama in the name of ‘Gram Sabha’. They bring their ‘trained people’ and Stalin answers questions raised only by them and when others ask they are beaten up,” Palaniswami said, referring to Poongodi, a woman who was allegedly manhandled by DMK cadres during one of the ‘Gram Sabha’ meetings it organised in Coimbatore district on January 2.
The Madras High Court has recently ordered to speed up the pending corruption cases against DMK’s 13 former ministers, during Jayalalithaa’s regime. As a diversionary tactic, Stalin is repeatedly coming up with baseless allegations against the AIADMK.
“A year and half before, the Centre cancelled a tender related to a road laying project. The new tender is to be floated on January 29. But the DMK is alleging that our government has made a scam worth ₹ 450 crores in that project. They also given this fake report to the Governor,” said EPS.
Palaniswami said that DMK is so mired in dynasty politics, whereas in AIADMK even an ordinary farmer like him can climb the party ladder.
“You [Stalin] tried to break our party. But it is said that your brother in Madurai, Alagiri, is going to launch a party of his own. If he floated his party then the DMK break into pieces, definitely,” he added.