Salem: Chief Minister, Edappadi K Palaniswami on Tuesday distanced himself from AIADMK senior leader and Lok Sabha Deputy Speaker, M Thambidurai's charge that the BJP government at the Centre was responsible for the CBI raids against a state minister and some top police officials in connection with the 'gutka' scam, even as he reiterated that his government would have cordial ties with the Centre in the overall development interests of Tamil Nadu.
Mr Palaniswami, who arrived here from Chennai to participate in various functions in Salem district, told reporters at the airport that the remarks attributed to Mr Thambidurai on the latest CBI raids “may be his personal view; that is not the view of the government. As far as the government is concerned, a cooperative stance with the Centre would help to implement various development projects drawn up for Tamil Nadu by getting adequate funds.”
Rubbishing charges of corruption surfacing against some of his Cabinet colleagues without naming any of them, Mr. Palaniswami said that there was no truth in the allegations. “Mere charges against a person do not make one guilty and they have to be proved in a court of Law,” he said referring to demands for resignation of the Health minister, C. Vijayabaskar by the DMK following the CBI raids.
Stating that his government was performing well and that the AIADMK was confident of repeating 'Amma's performance' in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls when the party won 37 parliament seats from Tamil Nadu in the 2019 general elections also, Mr. Palaniswami said, “some vested interests are repeatedly leveling allegations of a certain type (corruption charges) to bring our (Amma's) government to a standstill, which has not been possible for them, as we go from strength to strength. So, they again, deliberately, rake up charges in a particular direction; but there is absolutely no truth in these allegations and there have been no complaint against any department.” “There were many allegations against the previous DMK rule and they will come out,” the Chief Minister added.
On Karnataka's insistence to build a balancing reservoir at Mekedatu, upstream of Mettur, Mr. Palaniswami said Tamil Nadu has been consistently maintaining that the Centre should not give nod for the Mekedatu project.
Pointing out that even the Supreme court had clearly said that no new reservoir on Cauvery should be constructed without the consent of Tamil Nadu, the Chief Minister recalled how during severe drought years, Karnataka had declined to release Cauvery waters even for drinking purposes. Hence, another dam upstream of Mettur “will severely affect Tamil Nadu's interests,” he emphasised.
To a question, Mr. Palaniswami said only the Centre had to reduce excise duty and VAT on petroleum products and it was not possible for the State to do so. “you already know about the State's financial position, which is finding it difficult to get funds for various departments; you know the bad shape the Transport department is in and despite all this, we will still consider the issue (of state reducing its levies).”
The Chief Minister, who was earlier received at the airport by Salem collector, Ms Rohini Bhajibhakare and other officials, later participated in various functions at Omalur, Edappadi and Tiruchengode before returning to Salem tonight. Ends.