Says his ministry has not given any clearance for Aranmula airport project

Defence Minister A.K. Antony has said that he has not seen the so-called ‘Modi wave' in any part of Kerala.

Addressing a meet-the-press programme at the Pathanamthitta Press Club on Sunday, Mr. Antony said a section of big corporate companies were active because of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi's influence. The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and the Sangh Parivar were openly spearheading the election campaign of the BJP.

Mr. Antony said the popular psyche was with the Congress and the UPA. He said the Kerala-model of development was a role model for the rest of the country. He alleged that the ‘Gujarat model' was an ‘inflated’ model and many a rural belt in Gujarat were in the grip of poverty.

He said Kerala owed much to the United Democratic Front government led by Oommen Chandy for the development taking place across the State. Mr. Antony said the CPI(M) was ‘‘day dreaming’’ of forming a third front as an alternative to the Congress and the BJP in the post-election scenario. He expressed the hope that the Congress, with the support of various secular and democratic forces, would be able to form the UPA-III government at the Centre.

Mr. Antony said the CPI(M) would be able to win a handful of seats across the country. He said his ministry had not given any clearance for the proposed private airport project at Aranmula apart from giving a conditional no-objection certificate (NOC) to the Ministry of Civil Aviation for the project.

Mr Antony said the Defence Ministry had given the NOC subject to seven conditions made by the Indian Navy. He made it clear that there was no question of compromising the national security, how big the applicant may be. If any of the conditions were violated, the NOC would remain cancelled, he said.

However, Mr. Antony avoided making any comment on the public agitation against the airport project or the alleged violation of 12 laws of the land for the project.