Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin on Wednesday hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi over his recent remarks and said there was no need for the PM to certify the patriotism of Tamils who have always venerated and praised the freedom fighters for their contribution to the nation.
Utilising the poll campaign in the state facing urban civic body election on February 19, the Chief Minister lashed out at the Prime Minister accusing him of depicting criticism against his BJP as that aimed against the nation.
Referring to the Prime Minister's remarks in Parliament on February 7 and also the Centre's rejection of the Tamil Nadu tableau for the Republic Day celebrations in the national capital, Mr Stalin, while addressing an election rally in Thoothukudi, virtually from here, sought to know who had decided against allowing Tamil Nadu's tableau for the Republic Day parade in New Delhi.
Recalling Congress leader Rahul Gandhi's speech in Parliament, Mr Stalin said he had thanked him for expressing the sentiments of the people of Tamil Nadu.
"Rahul Gandhi said that the BJP would not be able to rule Tamil Nadu for many years. In response, Prime Minister Modi said the people of Tamil Nadu were nationalists and that Tamil Nadu paid homage to the late Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat," Mr Stalin said.
"He (Prime Minister) turns criticism against the BJP as criticism against India itself. But who took the decision not to allow Tamil Nadu's tableau depicting freedom fighters Veeramangai Velunachaiyar, Marudu brothers, Deeran Chinnamalai, Veerapandiya Kattabomman, VO Chidambaram and national poet Bharathi?" he asked.
He sought to know what was the problem in allowing Bharati's statue when Modi himself quoted the national poet's poems in his speeches.
Tamil Nadu, Mr Stalin said, never faltered in honouring leaders and martyrs who sacrificed for the country. "Prime Minister Modi does not need to certify the patriotism of Tamils. History bears witness," he said and added that Tamil Nadu sees the entire country as one.
On February 7, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while accusing the Congress of 'divide and rule,' hailed the people of Tamil Nadu for coming out of their homes to pay tributes to India's first CDS General Bipin Rawat who lost his life in a helicopter crash in December last year.
"The problem between them and us is that they think the nation is a mere territory whereas we say the nation is because of the people living in it," Mr Stalin further said.
Following the rejection, the state government showcased the tableau at the Republic Day celebrations on the Marina Beachfront and also throughout Tamil Nadu.
Turning to the NEET controversy, the Chief Minister flayed Governor R N Ravi for returning the anti-NEET bill to the state and asked who was behind him. "Who gave him the courage to reject? Whose representative is he? The Governor rejects the bill drafted by the representatives of crores of people. Is this democracy? Can't we ask questions?" he asked.
On February 1, the Governor returned the bill contending that it was against the interest of poor and rural students. However, the Tamil Nadu Assembly which met for a special session on February 8, adopted the bill once again seeking Presidential assent.
Also, Mr Stalin accused AIADMK co-coordinator K Palaniswami of carrying out a misinformation campaign against him on DMK's poll assurances. "Immediately after the DMK came to power, we gave Rs 4,000 in two installments to 2.15 crore family ration card holders. But Palaniswami is going around uttering lies," he said.
The state government issued orders (GO) to give effect to 1,238 announcements out of 1,641 made during the 8 months of the party coming to power, he said.