CHENNAI: Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami, who embarked on a three-nation tour on Wednesday, insisted that his trip abroad was only in response to invitations from prospective investors abroad.
He would be meeting them in their countries and present Tamil Nadu as an ideal destination for investments.
He hit out at DMK president M.K. Stalin for criticising his foreign trip and asked the DMK chief to clarify about his “frequent” foreign visits.
Rubbishing the opposition criticism that his was a jolly trip without any substance, Mr Palaniswami said, “This trip is to seek more investments for Tamil Nadu. I am visiting the U.S, U.K and Dubai to meet investors to invite them to start new businesses in the state.”
Stalin shot back saying that as deputy chief minister earlier, he had travelled abroad and had received funds for the Metro Rail project and the Hogenakkal integrated water scheme.
He also found fault with Mr Palaniswami comparing his “private” foreign visits with that of the Chief Minister’s official one.
Speaking to reporters before leaving for his first stop London, Mr. Palaniswami flayed the DMK chief for criticising his foreign trip, and wondered if Stalin had ever “clarified” on his “frequent” overseas trips. “Mr. Stalin frequently goes abroad...why does he go? He says it is for personal reason. What is the personal reason? What is the mystery behind him going to foreign countries often? He has never clarified through the media,” the Chief Minister said.
On the other hand, the Chief Minister was not going abroad for any personal reasons. “I am not an industrialist but a farmer, who wants to strive for progress, bring in big industries, ensure jobs for the youth and economic growth,” Mr Palaniswami explained and added that several investors from foreign countries had suggested to him during the Global Investors Meet (GIM) 2019 held here that he should travel abroad to attract more investments to the State.
He was visiting these countries based on their invitation. Mr Palaniswami’s two-week trip is the first by a State Chief Minister to travel abroad in decades.
The State government had earlier said that besides attracting investments, the Chief Minister would also study new technologies in various fields like Health and Renewable Energy to implement them in Tamil Nadu.
He is scheduled to return on September 10. At the airport here, Mr. Palaniswami was given a warm send-off by his senior party colleagues and AIADMK functionaries.
Later, reacting to Mr. Palaniswami's jibe, Mr. Stalin said he had only questioned the status of various investment proposals made in GIM 2015 (under the late Jayalalithaa) and 2019, in the backdrop of the Chief Minister's latest foreign visit. Prior to GIM 2019, a couple of State Ministers had flown abroad to meet investors and it would have been proper for Mr. Palaniswami also to have made such a visit then, he said.
“Have Rs 5.42 lakh crore (proposed) investments in the two editions of GIM been realised? Not at all. The announcements regarding investments have become a mere mirage,” the DMK leader alleged in a statement. The DMK has been insisting that the State government release a white paper on this issue, he said.
On his private visits, the DMK leader said, they were transparent.
“My personal visits with my family were undertaken in full public knowledge. It is not proper for a CM to compare his official visit abroad with my private visit,” he said and asked the CM to divulge the real purpose of his overseas trip....