'From CM Stalin's direct demand to paying tribute to Vijayakanth': A look at PM Modi's day out in Tamil Nadu!

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has flagged off his New Year through crucial trips to South India as he has arrived in Tamil Nadu on Tuesday - January 2 with an itinerary of inaugurating several projects in the state and to visit Lakshadweep and Kerala. His trip to the southern states, where his party BJP is simmering with downfalls and debacles, has come nearly four months ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha polls. 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has landed in Trichy on Tuesday and received a rousing reception from the BJP functionaries and cadres. He was welcomed by Tamil Nadu Governor RN Ravi, Chief Minister MK Stalin, and senior ministers and he drove directly to the Bharathidasan University and took part in the convocation ceremony. 

Following the ceremony, the Prime Minister has inaugurated several projects including the newly constructed 'terminal two' of the Trichy International Airport, new railway lines and roads benefitting the southern districts of Tamil Nadu. The brand new terminal is constructed at a cost of Rs 1100 crore and is expected to serve 44 lakh passengers every year. The construction carries the implica of Tamil temple and the new terminal is expected to advance the aviation industry and connections in the state. 

Narendra Modi has inaugurated multiple development projects worth Rs 19,850 crore in Tamil Nadu. Taking part in the event, Chief Minister MK Stalin has made a direct demand to the Prime Minister to release required amount to the state to revive from the disaster caused by Cyclone Michaung and incessant rainfall and to declare the recent floods as a 'calamity of severe nature'. 

When the state government has urged the centre to provide over Rs 5,000 crore as a relief fund, the Modi administration was criticized for only releasing around Rs 1,000 crore. MK Stalin's demand has come ten days after the state and central governments had heated exchanges over the issue of funds and preparations before the floods. 

Chief Minister MK Stalin has demanded the Prime Minister to accord international status to Madurai Airport. While speaking at the event, Prime Minister Modi exchanged his New Year greetings and said, "It is my privilege that my first public programme in 2024 is happening in Tamil Nadu. The developmental projects worth Rs 20,000 crore will strengthen Tamil Nadu's progress. I congratulate you for these projects spanning roadways, railways, ports, airports, energy and petroleum pipelines. Many of these projects will improve ease of travel and create thousands of employment opportunities." 

By citing that the last few weeks of 2023 were difficult for several people in Tamil Nadu, Narendra Modi said that many people have lost their lives and asserted that the central government stands with the people of Tamil Nadu during this time of crisis. Narendra Modi has also paid tribute to demised actor-turned-politician Vijayakanth, who was fondly called as 'Captain'. 

"It was only days ago that we lost Vijayakanth. He was a captain not only in the world of cinema but also in the world of politics. He won the hearts of the people through his films. As a politician, he always put national interests above everything else. I pay my tributes to him. I also offer my condolences to his family and friends", Narendra Modi added.