PM lashes out at DMK over ‘China flag’ row in spaceport advertisement


PTI, Feb 28, 2024, 9:05 PM IST

Image Credit: X/@annamalai_k

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday strongly criticised the DMK in Tamil Nadu for being ‘oblivious’ to the nation’s achievements in space sector, after a newspaper advertisement by a state minister belonging to the party over a spaceport kicked up a row over what the BJP claimed had a ‘Chinese flag’.

Modi alleged the DMK has disregarded India’s success in space technology and demanded that the Dravidian party apologise for featuring China in its advertisement in a daily.

The ruling DMK said BJP’s accusation was only political in nature.

Addressing a BJP rally here, PM Modi alleged the DMK regime does not work but only took false credit and it affixed its ‘stickers’ on Central schemes.

”Now they have crossed the limit. They have pasted the sticker of China to take credit for ISRO launchpad in Tamil Nadu. This is an an insult to our space scientists, space sector, your tax money and you (the country),” he said.

The Prime Minister laid the foundation stone for a new launch complex of ISRO at Kulasekarapattinam near Thoothukudi, which is worth about Rs 986 crore and the facility is set to accommodate 24 launches per year.

The new complex includes 35 facilities, and features mobile launch structure (MLS) with checkout computers marking a significant stride in enhancing space exploration capabilities.

The Tamil Nadu BJP alleged that in an advertisement in a daily the DMK used ‘Chinese flag’ and ‘Chinese language’ to claim credit for bringing the new ISRO complex at Kulasekarapattinam, located near Thoothukudi in the state.

The PM said Tamil Nadu BJP chief K Annamalai has spoken about it in his address.

The advertisement by Minister Anita Radhakrishnan featured a rocket as its backdrop. A rocket, in the middle, was embossed with an image, that looked like a Chinese flag. The photographs of PM Modi and Chief Minister M K Stalin formed a prominent part of the advertisement, published in DMK’s Tamil mouthpiece ‘Murasoli’.

Against this background, Modi alleged DMK is not prepared to hail India’s progress and the nation’s achievements in space technology.

The DMK leaders could not ‘see anything’, he said apparently referring to the nation’s milestone events in space technology.

”They gave this advertisement from the tax that you pay. It didn’t have India’s space success, they didn’t want to highlight it before Tamil Nadu, before the world.” The advertisement did not have the images of Bharath’s (ISRO) space programmes and they could not feature India’s flag on it, he slammed.

This is the time to punish those who ‘cannot see’ and are oblivious to the nation’s achievements, he added.

The PM said in a post on X: ”DMK’s advertisement today is hilarious. They have insulted Indian science and the Indian space sector, for which they must apologise.” Responding to the allegation, DMK spokesperson J Constandine Ravindran said the BJP’s accusation was only political in nature and it does not reflect facts.

The objective of the advertisement was to show that India has succeeded in space technology, on a par with developed nations that have already made accomplishments in space sector.

In furtherance of the objective, the advertisement has multiple rockets as its background featuring shades, flags or logos of nations that have succeeded in space technology.

India is featured among them, showing the nation’s achievements in the field of space technology on a par with countries that have already succeeded, he said.

Tamil Nadu BJP chief K Annamalai alleged on X: ”This advertisement by DMK Minister Thiru Anita Radhakrishnan to leading Tamil dailies today is a manifestation of DMK’s commitment to China & their total disregard for our country’s sovereignty.” ”DMK, a party flighing (sic) high on corruption, has been desperate to paste stickers ever since the announcement of ISRO’s second launch pad in Kulasekarapatinam was released.”

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