Stalin replies to CM’s question on why he is going abroad

Minutes before leaving on a fortnight-long trip to the UK, US and Dubai on Wednesday, Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami shot back at DMK president M K Stalin over the Opposition leader’s criticism of his foreign trip, and questioned why the DMK leader hadn’t yet explained his frequent personal foreign trips.

Palaniswami, the first chief minister to travel abroad on an official visit to seek investments for the state in decades, took pains to explain that his fortnight-long trip was only to hard sell Tamil Nadu as a favourite destination for investors and not for any personal reasons.

“Every time, criticisms are being made. But Stalin is going on foreign visits often. His visits are personal. If so, what are the reasons? What is the mystery behind going on foreign visits often? He has not made this clear to any media,” he said.

He added: “This trip is to seek more investments for Tamil Nadu. I am visiting the US, UK and Dubai to meet investors to invite them to start new businesses in the state. I am not going for any personal reasons… I am a farmer and I have to strive for progress.”

To a question on the status of various Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs), the Chief Minister said: “Governments cannot set up industries right after signing the MoUs. There are procedures. Industries could be set up only after following the procedures.”

The DMK sees red over the timing of Palaniswami’s visit and also referred to an article in Tamil bi-weekly political magazine, Junior Vikatan, that claimed that the CM’s visit has more to do with personal reasons than garnering investments.

In a statement, after Palaniswami left for UAE, Stalin sought to know the status of investments promised during the two editions of GIM. He also said he did not hide his visits to foreign countries and everything was open. He added he visited foreign countries when he was the Deputy CM to attract funds for projects.

Also, Stalin on Tuesday said though DMK was not opposed to bifurcation of large districts, any such decision should be based on consultations with the people of the respective areas, who will be affected and it should not be done arbitrarily.

Speaking at Tharamangalam after unvieling former Chief Minister M Karunanidhi’s statue, he said, “We are not against bifurcation of districts but it must be done according to the wishes of the people.”