PM Modi, BJP On Warpath Over Tamil Nadu Minister's 'China Flag On Indian Rocket' Ad

The source of the controversy is the rocket 's red nose, which features four golden stars arced around the right side of a larger fifth star - the same emblem on the Chinese national flag.


A newspaper ad hailing the creation of a second launch pad for India's space agency ISRO - in Tamil Nadu's Kulsekarapatinam - has triggered a furious row after an image of the Chinese flag figured prominently on the rocket in the poster. The ad was commissioned by Tamil Nadu's Animal Husbandry Minister Anitha Radhakrishnan, who did so in his personal capacity, highlighting the ruling Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam's role in bringing this long-pending project to the state, NDTV was told.

Mr Radhakrishnan has been unavailable for comment, but Thoothukudi MP Kanimozhi (in whose constituency the ISRO facility will be built) has defended her party. She acknowledged the error - attributed to the artwork designer - and said the issue does not merit the backlash it has received.

The poster itself shows Prime Minister Narendra Modi - who was in the state, one in which his Bharatiya Janata Party has traditionally struggled for votes, this week to drum up support before the general election - and Chief Minister MK Stalin side-by-side, with a rocket in the background.

The source of the controversy is that rocket - its red nose features four golden stars arced around the right side of a larger fifth star. This is the same emblem that marks the Chinese national flag.

Mr Modi and the BJP have been quick to pounce on the error.

The PM ripped into the ruling Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, which thumped the BJP (then allied with the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam) in 2019 general and 2021 state elections.

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"DMK does not do work and takes false credit. They paste their stickers on our schemes. But now they have crossed the limit... they pasted China's sticker to take credit for the ISRO launchpad..."

"They are not ready to accept India's progress in the space sector. They do not want to present India's space success to the world. They have insulted our scientists and our space sector."

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"Now it is high time the DMK is punished for their deeds," the Prime Minister thundered.

Mr Modi's sharp attacks have been amplified by the BJP's state unit boss, K Annamalai, who posted a long and emotive post on X, in which he slammed his rival's "total disregard for our country's sovereignty" and labelled the rocket issue a "manifestation of DMK's commitment to China".

"On a day when the PM is in Tamil Nadu... a DMK minister gives out a newspaper ad with a Chinese rocket, and Kanimozhi, a senior MP, defends it, saying, 'What is wrong in having a Chinese picture?'"

The DMK MP had said, "I don't think India has declared China an 'enemy country'. The PM invited Chinese PM (Xi Jinping) and they went to Mamallapuram (a historic temple town near Chennai). You (the BJP) don't want to accept the truth and so are finding reasons to divert the issue," she said.

"DMK wants to stop the rocket-launching facility from coming here. And, for that, they are going to any end to please their (Chinese) masters. When India is celebrating... we have DMK glorifying China, Chinese people, and their flag. We expect a bare minimum apology..." Mr Annamalai ranted.

With input from agencies

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