Lok Sabha polls | A. Raja fought a lone battle to clear name in 2G spectrum case: Udhayanidhi Stalin

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DMK Minister Udayanidhi Stalin speaking at an election rally, canvassing for the DMK’s Nilgiris candidate and current MP A. Raja

T.N. Youth Welfare and Sports Minister, Udhayanidhi Stalin, said that Nilgiris Lok Sabha M.P., A. Raja, who is contesting the seat again this election, had stood his ground with the backing of former Chief Minister, M. Karunanidhi to disprove the “false 2G spectrum case” foisted against him.

Speaking at an election rally in Udhagamandalam in the Nilgiris on Monday, April 15, 2024, while canvassing for votes for Mr. Raja, Mr. Udhayanidhi said that the Nilgiris Lok Sabha M.P. fought tooth and nail as a “lone man” in the Supreme Court to clear his name.

Highlighting multiple development projects that were unveiled while Mr. Raja was M.P., including the Ooty Government Medical College and Hospital, multiple drinking water schemes, the reconstruction of the Udhagamandalam Municipal Market, among others, Mr. Udhayanidhi spoke of the huge increase in prices of LPG cylinders as well as fuel prices as indicative of the failures of the BJP government in dealing with issues that affect the common man.

“Ten years ago, when the BJP came to power, the price of an LPG cylinder was ₹450; now the price of a cylinder is ₹1,200. It was Modi who increased the price of LPG cylinders. He increased the price by ₹800 but is now promising to reduce it by a mere ₹100,” said Mr. Udhayanidhi.

The Minister also said that if the INDIA alliance was voted to power, Chief Minister M.K. Stalin has promised to reduce the price of LPG cylinders to ₹500, as well as the prices of petrol and diesel to ₹75 and ₹65 respectively. He also said that a minimum support price of ₹35 would be given to small tea growers in the Nilgiris.

Mr. Udhayanidhi accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of ignoring the people of Tamil Nadu, stating that during the Chennai, Tirunelveli and Thoothukudi floods, neither the BJP nor the AIADMK came forward to help people in distress. “Now, when he wants your votes, he (Modi) is coming to Tamil Nadu,” he said.

Woman interrupts

During his speech, Mr. Udhayanidhi Stalin was interrupted by a member of the crowd, who said that she had not received the ₹1,000 she was entitled to under the Kalaignar Magalir Urimai Thittam.

Responding to her questions, he said that there was a strict vetting process to identify beneficiaries for the scheme. Explaining the reasons for the strict procedures to ensure that benefits reach the most vulnerable, he said that for every one rupee that the State government pays as tax to the Centre, it receives only 29 paise.

“Contrast that with Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, both BJP-ruled states, which receive ₹3 and ₹7 in return for every rupee they pay as tax to the Centre,” said Mr. Udhayanidhi, who said that only by voting for the INDIA alliance would there be more equitable distribution of funds to States to ensure availability of money for more schemes to be implemented and for the schemes already in place to reach more people.

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