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Chinese flag in DMK’s ISRO ad; PM Modi calls it ‘insult’ to scientists

Tamil Nadu BJP chief K Annamalai was the first to tweet a picture of the advertisement on his social media pages, alleging that the development is a manifestation of DMK’s commitment to China and 'their total disregard for our country’s sovereignty.'
Last Updated 28 February 2024, 14:34 IST

Chennai: After an advertisement by Tamil Nadu Fisheries Minister Anitha Radhakrishnan with a Chinese flag on the nose cone of a rocket, to mark the foundation stone laying ceremony of India’s second spaceport in Thoothukudi district, triggered a major row, Prime Minister Narendra Modi hit out at the ruling DMK-government, terming it as an “insult” to the country’s scientists and space programme. 

The advertisements issued by Radhakrishnan, minister for fisheries and animal husbandry, appeared in leading Tamil dailies on Wednesday morning, hours before Modi laid the foundation stone for construction of the new facility, which is expected to be geographically advantageous for the country. 

Tamil Nadu BJP chief K Annamalai was the first to tweet a picture of the advertisement on his social media pages, alleging that the development is a manifestation of DMK’s commitment to China and “their total disregard for our country’s sovereignty.”

Though Modi didn’t talk about the controversial advertisement at the government function where he also didn’t acknowledge the presence of PWD Minister E V Velu and Thoothukudi MP Kanimozhi, the Prime Minister spoke about the issue at length at a public meeting organised by the BJP in neighbouring Tirunelveli.

“In their endeavour to paste stickers on our schemes, a DMK politician today used the Chinese flag in an advertisement. The DMK politicians cannot see anything else. They are not ready to see India’s development in the space sector. They didn’t put any pictures of India. They have insulted India’s space scientists,” Modi said. 

“This is the right time to punish the DMK for all its misdeeds,” Modi added. 

Annamalai alleged that DMK was the reason why the Satish Dhawan Space Centre is today in Andhra Pradesh, and not in Tamil Nadu, and accused the then government of insulting scientists. “This was the treatment our country’s space programme received 60 years ago. DMK hasn't changed much & has only become worse!,” he added. 

ISRO scientists said the Kulasekarapattinam spaceport will help save fuel as satellites launched from here can directly travel towards south unlike those launched from Sriharikota, which fly in the southeast direction after liftoff from the Sathish Dhawan Space Centre to avoid flying over Sri Lanka and takes a sharp manoeuvre towards the South Pole. 

ISRO chief S Somanath said the spaceport will launch small satellites in two years’ time. 

With Kanimozhi on the stage at the event in Thoothukudi, Modi accused the UPA government of not having the courage to take steps for the welfare of Tamil Nadu. 

“The projects that I have brought today were people's demands for decades, but UPA never cared about it. But today, this Sevak has come here to write the destiny of this state,” the Prime Minister said, adding that the DMK and Congress are hell-bent on dividing the nation.

“DMK does not work, yet comes first to hoard credits. They give new names to our initiatives and call it theirs,” the Prime Minister further accused. At the public meeting in Tirunelveli, Modi, once again, invoked AIADMK founder M G Ramachandran in an apparent bid to woo the party’s vote bank.

Modi also criticised the DMK for its comments that there is no connection between Lord Ram and Tamil Nadu and tore into the party MPs for skipping a discussion in Parliament on the inauguration of Ram Temple in Ayodhya.

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(Published 28 February 2024, 14:34 IST)

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