JP Nadda participates in Pongal celebrations in poll-bound Tamil Nadu, says BJP 'committed' to state's welfare

The BJP chief also listed the Centre's various measures for the state including sanctioning of an AIIMS in Madurai and the Chennai-Bengaluru defence corridor

Press Trust of India January 14, 2021 23:51:56 IST
JP Nadda participates in Pongal celebrations in poll-bound Tamil Nadu, says BJP 'committed' to state's welfare

File image of JP Nadda. PTI

Chennai: BJP chief JP Nadda on Thursday underlined his party-led Central government's commitment for poll-bound Tamil Nadu's welfare and listed Centre's various measures taken for the state, including sanctioning of an All India Institute of Medical Sciences and the Chennai-Bengaluru defence corridor.

Participating in the 'Namma Ooru Pongal' celebrations, organised by the party's state unit on the occasion of the harvest festival, Nadda asked cadres to ensure that Centre's campaign of 'Atmanirbhar Bharat' also works in Tamil Nadu.

His visit assumes significance as the state Assembly polls are likely in April-May.

Clad in traditional white shirt and dhoti, Nadda was accorded a warm welcome by party functionaries led by State president L Murugan at the airport.

Speaking briefly in Tamil initally, Nadda said Tamil Nadu was a land of saints and sages who have contributed to humanity and the state has got a rich culture.

"I remember Saint Thiruvalluvar's contribution which is not only to Tamil Nadu but to the whole country. Tamil is the world's oldest language and Tamil Nadu is proud of it. In the same way, famous Kings of Cheras, Cholas, Pandiyas, Pallavas have contributed in the development of Tamil Nadu," he said.

Religious sentiments have also been taken care of by religious leaders and saints. "I always say that all the 63 Nayanmars (saivite saints) and 12 Alwars (Vaishnavite saints) are from the land of Tamil Nadu which we have to remember. We feel proud of it," he said.

On the role of Tamil Nadu in the Independence movement, he recalled the valiant efforts of freedom fighters like 'Tirupur' Kumaran, Subramanya Bharathi, Velunachiyar, and V O Chidambaram Pillai.

Referring to Tamil poet Kaniyan Poongundranar's lines 'Yathum Oorae, Yavarum keleer' (we belong to all places, and to everyone), Nadda said India was proud when Prime Minister Narendra Modi referred to these lines in the United Nations Assembly.

"That is the love and affection which Prime Minister Narendra Modi has for Tamil Nadu. Time and again he speaks about the poets and poems of Tamil Nadu at the international forums," he said.

On initiative for the state's welfare, he said the Centre has taken care of Tamil Nadu so that it takes a big leap in development.

"...The 13th Finance Commission during UPA government gave Rs 94,000 crore to Tamil Nadu for development. But the 14th Finance Commission under the NDA government gave Rs 5.42 lakh crore...this shows what feeling the Prime Minister has for the people of Tamil Nadu," he said.

On tapping the silk and textile industry in the state, Nadda said, "the central government has allotted Rs 1,600 crore for the development of textiles. This is Atmanirbhar Bharat, this is vocal for local."

Nadda said 94 lakh of people from Tamil Nadu have joined Jan Dhan Yojana scheme while 30 lakh gas connections were provided to beneficiaries in the State under the Centre's Ujjvala Yojana scheme.

As many as 30 lakh LED bulbs were distributed to the state under the LED bulb scheme launched by the Centre.

On the proposed Defence Corridor between Chennai and Bengaluru, Nadda said it was not only a defence corridor but 'opening of an economic corridor' for the State.

The Centre has also earmarked Rs 2,800 crore for the Chennai Metro Rail extension programme in Chennai and another Rs 3,267 crore for Monorail programme, he said.

Noting that 12 cities in the state would be upgraded to smart cities, he said, when he was the Union Health Minister the Centre accorded the All India Institute of Medical Sciences for TN at an investment of Rs 1,300 crore.

"World class AIIMS hospital is coming to Madurai. Nearly 100 seats will be there for MBBS and more than 100 seats will be allocated for staff nurses," he said.

Besides the AIIMS hospital in Madurai, the Centre also approved setting up of 11 medical colleges in the state.

On disbursement of loans under Pradhan Mantri MUDRA Yojana Scheme, he said highest number of beneficiaries were from Tamil Nadu in which 48 lakh accounts were opened and Rs 50,000 crore was spent for the scheme in the state.

Nadda said during the COVID-19 pandemic the western world which had better health facilities 'collapsed' while PM Modi led the country against COVID-19 from the front.

"Prime Minister took the decision for lockdown and made the country prepare for the fight against the outbreak," he said, adding, during the outbreak there was not (even) one dedicated hospital for COVID-19 in the country.

"Now we have got 2,500 plus dedicated hospitals for COVID-19 . During the pandemic, we did not manufacture personal protection equipment (PPE) kits..today the country manufactures five lakh PPE per day. This is Atmanirbhar Bharat."

Testing of samples, which was 1,500 per day during the initial part of the pandemic, has increased to 5 lakh per day now. India has got the maximum recovery rate from the infection which is more than 97 percent, he said.

It shows how the country has fought from the front. In line with the efforts taken by the Centre, Nadda said Tamil Nadu's health infrastructure did the same and also responded in fighting the pandemic.

Referring to the Atmanirbhar Bharat initiative, he said Rs 20 lakh crore have to be spent and one has to ensure farmers take advantage of it in agriculture development through farmers producers' organisation.

Later, speaking at the 51st anniversary of Tamil magazine 'Thughlaq,' he said BJP hopes to cash in on the growing popularity and support for Modi in poll-bound Tamil Nadu and ensure it replicated its success in the elections held recently in various parts of the nation. There is tremendous appreciation and support for Modi in mainstream Tamil Nadu for his pro-people initiatives, he said.

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