Lok Sabha polls | False propaganda spread in T.N., on giving up rights over Katchatheevu: Nirmala Sitharaman

The Finance Minister slammed the T.N. government, stating that it had known about the island being ceded to Sri Lanka; she also alleged that a number of Central schemes had been misappropriated by the State as their own

Updated - April 02, 2024 04:12 pm IST

Published - April 02, 2024 03:59 pm IST - CHENNAI

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. File

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. File | Photo Credit: ANI

False propaganda has been spread in Tamil Nadu for more than 50 years about Katchatheevu island being ceded to Sri Lanka in 1974 without the knowledge of the State government, alleged senior BJP leader and Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, on Tuesday, April 2, 2024.

Speaking to journalists in Chennai on the sidelines of a Viksit Bharat ambassadors programme, Ms. Sitharaman said the issue of Katchatheevu island, the ceding of which has erupted into a political controversy ahead of the upcoming Lok Sabha election, pertained to the national security and sovereignty of our country. “The reason we talk about Katchatheevu island now, which was ceded to Sri Lanka in 1974, is because of the false propaganda that has been spread for more than 50 years that it was given away without the knowledge of the Tamil Nadu government.”

Ms. Sitharaman asked whether then Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi (current incumbent M.K. Stalin’s father) had opposed the remarks made by former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi about Katchatheevu island being “a piece of rock”.

The Minister also slammed the Congress party, saying it had not able to come back to power in Tamil Nadu since 1967, and “had been surviving by holding on to the crutches of State parties.” The party’s vote share had declined to 4-5%, she said, adding that the Congress was hostile to the interests of Tamil Nadu and should explain its stance on giving up India’s rights over Katchatheevu island.

Ms. Sitharaman said the Narendra Modi-led government had taken various steps to release fishermen arrested by the Sri Lankan Navy. The External Affairs Ministry, in coordination with the Fisheries Ministry, has also been taking steps to retrieve the impounded boats of fishermen, she said.

Attempts were being made to scuttle the ‘Modi Ki Guarantee’ schemes aimed at common people, claimed the Finance Minister, adding: “The T.N. government has periodically tried to show them off as if these Central schemes are their projects. In some cases, stickers were put on Modi’s name. Schemes such as the distribution of free food grains and the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana were misappropriated by the State government,” she alleged.

She further alleged the State government failed to utilise ₹ 950 crore released by the Union government before Cyclone Michaung to take preventive measures.“Will the State government make it public, the details of ₹ 5,000 crore spent on building drains in Chennai city,?” she questioned.

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