Congress poses questions concerning Tamil Nadu to PM ahead of his LS poll campaign in state

Jairam Ramesh also asked Modi whether the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Madurai is merely a publicity stunt.


Published Apr 13, 2024 | 4:23 PM Updated Apr 13, 2024 | 4:23 PM

Jairam Ramesh

Ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Lok Sabha poll campaign in Tamil Nadu, the Congress posed several questions to him on Saturday, 13 April, asking why is he so eager to privatise the Salem Steel Plant and why the ruling BJP has not set up a single educational institute in the southern state.

Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh also asked Modi whether the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Madurai is merely a publicity stunt.

“Today’s questions for the PM as he heads to Tamil Nadu: AIIMS Madurai: Premier institute or publicity stunt? Why hasn’t the BJP set up a single premier educational institute in TN? Why was the PM so eager to privatise Salem Steel Plant,” Ramesh asked in a post on X.

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No action on AIIMS Madurai

Accusing the BJP of giving “jumlas” (rhetoric), he said the saffron party proudly announced the establishment of the AIIMS, Madurai in the 2015-16 Union budget and for four years since the announcement, no action was taken.

“Then just before the 2019 election, PM Modi finally laid the foundation stone at a much-publicised event. Another five years have now passed, and once again no action was taken. Now that elections are upon us again, construction work has finally begun on the much-awaited hospital and college.”

“While the PM has been engaging in publicity stunts, the students of ‘AIIMS Madurai’ have been set up at a temporary campus ‘without any basic facilities’. Five students share a single room, students are not allowed to visit OPDs or operation theatres, and libraries only have books for first-year students,” Ramesh claimed.

“Is this the premier medical institution that PM Modi had envisioned for Tamil Nadu? How many elections will it take for the real AIIMS to finally be built?” he asked.

‘No premiere institution in last 10 years’

The Congress leader also alleged that not a single premier educational institution was built in Tamil Nadu in the 10 years that the BJP has been in power at the Centre.

All the premier institutes, including the IIT-Madras, the NIT-Tiruchirapalli, the IIM-Tiruchirapalli and the Tamil Nadu National Law University, were established during the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) era, he claimed.

“Whither ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas’, Modiji? Has your government created anything but problems for the students of Tamil Nadu?” he asked.

‘Intrest of capitalists put forward’

Ramesh also said in 2019, the Centre decided to privatise the Salem Steel Plant and a massive rally of almost 2,000 people was taken out to oppose the move.

The rally consisted of workers, their family members and farmers who had sacrificed their land for the plant’s construction, he said.

The plant covers an area that had around 25 villages, 18 or 19 of which have disappeared since it was built and the workers have alleged that the plant is being intentionally mismanaged and the leadership of the Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) has been reduced to a mouthpiece of the ruling party, Ramesh said.

“Once again, the BJP has put the interests of its capitalist cronies before the livelihoods of the working man. Fortunately for the protestors, the Centre has been unable to sell the plant so far. But the question remains, why was the BJP so eager to get rid of this plant?” the Congress leader asked, using the hashtag #ChuppiTodoPradhanMantriji.

Tamil Nadu goes to polls on 19 April.

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