Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Sunday appealed to the people of Tamil Nadu to elect more than 25 MPs of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in the 2024 Lok Sabha election, as an expression of gratitude to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for installingSengol, a legacy of the Chola era, in the new Parliament.
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He was referring to the Sengol presented by the Thiruvavaduthurai Adheenam to the first Prime Minister of India Jawaharlal Nehru on the eve of Independence while addressing a public meeting here as part of the BJP’s month-long campaign to take to people the achievements of the government led by Mr. Modi in the last nine years.
Expressing confidence that BJP-led NDA will return to power in 2024 by winning more than 300 seats, he said that by winning more than 25 seats in Tamil Nadu with the blessings of the people here, the NDA can have more Ministers from the State.
Reply to Stalin
Referring to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K. Stalin challenging Mr. Shah on Saturday to list the contributions of the Union government to Tamil Nadu in the last nine years, the Home Minister said he had come here to provide answers.
Urging Mr. Stalin to listen with attention, Mr. Shah said the Chief Minister should respond to him if he had the courage. He said the “devolution fund” released to the State in the nine years was ₹2.47 lakh crore compared to ₹95,000 crore released during 10 years of United Progressive Alliance (UPA), of which the DMK was a part of. He said ₹58,000 crore was sanctioned in nine years for various national highways projects.
Other achievements he listed included two Vande Bharat Express trains, new integrated terminal at the Chennai airport, new project by Neyveli Lignite Corporation for ₹1,000 crore, construction of 62 lakh toilets for the poor, 82 lakh water connections under the Jal Jeevan Mission, and a new campus for Central Institute of Classical Tamil.
On criticisms over delay in the construction of the new All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Madurai, he asked why did the DMK failed to bring AIIMS to Tamil Nadu when it was part of Union governments in the past. He said while the AIIMS has already begun functioning in a temporary campus, the construction of the new campus will also happen soon.
He said that it was the present Union government that introduced the option of writing examinations for All India Services, Central Reserve Police Force, and National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) in Tamil.
2G, 3G, 4G parties
He said that while there were widespread allegations of corruption when the DMK was part of the Congress-led UPA government for more than 10 years, no one was able to make such allegations against the present Union government.
Terming the DMK and Congress as “2G,3G,4G” parties, he said he was not just referring to the corruption charges over allocation of 2G spectrum. He said 2G and 3G referred to two generations of the family of late DMK leader Murasoli Maran and three generations of the family of late Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi, who, according to him, were involved in corruption. “4G” referred to four generations of the Gandhi family for similar reasons, he said.