Salem: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami Friday made a strong pitch for a second term for Prime Minister Narendra Modi, lauding him for the air strikes on terror camps in Pakistan and saying he was the "only qualified" leader to ensure the nation's security.
Modi was an "efficient and strong leader", he said launching his campaign for the April 18 Lok Sabha elections in the state from here, his native district in west Tamil Nadu.
Palaniswami, also the joint co-ordinator of ruling AIADMK, took a dig at the DMK-led opposition, saying it was seeking votes in the absence of a Prime Ministerial candidate whereas the NDA was projecting Modi.
He also accused the DMK of doing nothing for the welfare of the people of the state despite having been a partner in the ruling coalitions for 11 years at the Centre.
For a large democratic nation like India, security was very important and to ensure this, it was imperative that the country had an "efficient and strong leader," Palaniswami, whose party is leading the NDA in Tamil Nadu, said.
"Mr Narendra Modi is the only capable leader to protect the country. Only if he is the Prime Minister (for a successive term), can the country achieve great growth in many spheres," he said.
Referring to the killing of the 40 CRPF jawans in the February 14 terror attack in Pulwama in Jammu and Kashmir last month, Palaniswami said the country responded to it by carrying out air strikes on terror camps in Balakot in Pakistan and credited Modi for the retaliatory action. By this, Modi had brought "pride for India in the international arena," he added. Without naming Indian Air Force fighter pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman from Chennai, who was captured by Pakistan following a dogfight, Palaniswami lauded Modi for ensuring his safe return, saying he came back home 'unscathed.' Modi proved India's 'might' following the pilot's safe return, Palaniswami said. "This (NDA) alliance has to secure a grand victory to ensure the country's safety and security," he added.
The AIADMK is heading the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry with the other partners being the BJP, DMDK, PMK, Puthiya Tamizhagamn and Puthiya Neethi Katchi in the state. All India NR Congress is the NDA pick for the lone Puducherry segment. The 40 seats up for grab in Tamil Nadu (39) and the union territory are considered key for both the NDA as well as the DMK-led United Progressive Alliance for government formation at the Centre. The DMK-led coalition, which includes Congress among others, has been named Secular Progressive Alliance in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry. Taking a swipe at the DMK-led alliance, Palaniswami said its PM candidate was yet undecided. "We are seeking votes by projecting Mr Modi as PM candidate. But they are doing so unaware who is their PM pick," he said.
Palaniswami said while DMK chief M K Stalin had earlier proposed Congress President Rahul Gandhi as the coalition's prime ministerial candidate, "he had later said that the PM will be decided after the polls."
Billing the AIADMK government as pro-people, he listed out its various welfare measures and questioned what the DMK had done for the people of the state.
"The DMK was part of the Central government for 11 years... Did it ever lend its voice for the rights of the people of Tamil Nadu. Did it solve issues by taking them up with the Centre. It did not," he charged.
People will reject them, Palaniswami said adding "for national security, and continuance of various welfare schemes, people should vote" for the party-led NDA."
Earlier, he began the electioneering after offering prayers at a Lord Vinayaka temple.
He was canvassing for AIADMK candidate from Salem, K R S Saravanan and ally DMDK's L K Sutheesh, who is contesting from the Kallakurichi Lok Sabha segment....