PM, Stalin bonhomie the talking point at Chennai
Modi Leads BJP’s Southern Foray, Visits Hyderabad and Chennai
CHENNAI: Despite strong political differences between the DMK and the BJP, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister MK Stalin on Saturday showed remarkable bonhomie — just short of saying bhai-bhai — when they shared the dais for two public functions here. While the PM largely stayed away from making political comments, Stalin gently underscored the point that state autonomy alone can ensure true federalism in the country.
Stalin gave a long list of demands to the PM while speaking at an event in Pallavaram where the latter inaugurated completed works and laid the foundation for important infrastructure projects. BJP state president K Annamalai was conspicuous by his absence, with party sources saying he was busy with Karnataka elections.
After a warm reception at the Chennai airport, the CM briefly held the PM’s hand and patted the back of the latter’s palm while walking past the displays at the new Chennai airport terminal. While both displayed camaraderie, the cadre of the Congress, the DMK’s principal ally in the state, protested against Modi over the disqualification of Rahul Gandhi as MP. Speaking at the Pallavaram function, Modi said, “Tamil Nadu’s development is of great priority to the government.”
The state, he said, has been allocated an all-time high of over Rs 6,000 crore for rail infrastructure in this year’s budget. He also pointed out that the average amount allocated per year during 2009-2014 was less than `900 crore. “Between 2004 and 2014, the length of national highways added in Tamil Nadu was about 800 km but nearly 2,000 km of national highways were added between 2014 and 2023,” Modi pointed out.