Says UPA took measures to ensure welfare of the minorities
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on Thursday that Kerala had the potential to emerge as the `knowledge hub' of the nation if the people of the State were to give the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) another term in office to continue the development initiatives it had undertaken during the last five years.
`A vote for development' was once again the main theme of his public speeches in Malabar region on the second day of his election tour of the State.
Addressing meetings at Pattambi in Palakkad district, Payyoli in Kozhikode and Iritty in Kannur, Dr. Singh spoke about the large number of engineering colleges that had been opened in the State, mega projects the Centre had sanctioned for the State and the huge flow of investment received by the State during the tenure of the UDF Government.
Theme for Malabar
He expanded the theme to cover the initiatives taken by the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Government at the Centre for the welfare of minorities and non-resident Indians a subject that could easily strike a chord in Malabar region, where a major share of the population belongs to minority communities and many families have their members working in the Gulf countries.
He said the UPA Government had created a special department to attend to the affairs of minority communities. Over 40 lakh Malayalis were working in the Gulf countries. The Government had formed the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs with the specific objective of attending to their needs, he said.
Ties with Gulf countries
Dr. Singh said India was consistently trying to improve its relations with the Gulf countries. The King of Saudi Arabia had come to the country as the chief guest for the Republic Day celebrations. "Our relation with the Gulf countries is on a strong footing. It will bring investments to Kerala and ensure more employment opportunities for the people of the State," he said.
At Iritty, Dr. Singh said the UPA Government would lend all assistance to the State Government to make the proposed Kannur airport a reality. The UDF, which had a progressive outlook, knew the significance of developing such infrastructure facilities for the economic development of the State, he added.
Large gatherings of UDF supporters attended all three meetings addressed by Dr. Singh.