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DMK Government Slammed for Ad with Purported Chinese Flag

DMK Government Slammed for Ad with Purported Chinese Flag

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Manas Dasgupta

NEW DELHI, Feb 28: The DMK government in Tamil Nadu has landed itself in a soup after an advertisement on Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) upcoming spaceport at Kulasekarapattinam in Thoothukudi district sported a rocket with a Chinese flag.

The newspaper ad hailing the creation of the second launch pad for India’s space agency ISRO in Kulasekarapattinam triggered the furious row after the image of the Chinese flag figured prominently on the rocket in the poster. The ad was commissioned by Tamil Nadu’s Animal Husbandry Minister Anitha Radhakrishnan, who did so in his personal capacity, highlighting the ruling DMK’s role in bringing this long-pending project to the state.

The BJP has slammed the ruling DMK for the full-page ad that appeared in all leading dailies on Wednesday ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s foundation stone-laying event of Kulasekarapattinam spaceport.

Mr Radhakrishnan has been unavailable for comment, but Thoothukudi MP Kanimozhi (in whose constituency the ISRO facility will be built) has defended her party. She acknowledged the error – attributed to the artwork designer – and said the issue does not merit the backlash it has received.

The poster itself shows Mr Modi who was in the state, one in which his BJP has traditionally struggled for votes, this week to drum up support before the general election – and Chief Minister MK Stalin side-by-side, with a rocket in the background. The source of the controversy is that rocket – its red nose features four golden stars arced around the right side of a larger fifth star. This is the same emblem that marks the Chinese national flag.

Mr Modi and the BJP have been quick to pounce on the error. The PM ripped into the ruling DMK which thumped the BJP (then allied with the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam) in 2019 general and 2021 state elections. “DMK does not do work and takes false credit. They paste their stickers on our schemes. But now they have crossed the limit… they pasted China’s sticker to take credit for the ISRO launchpad…”

“They are not ready to accept India’s progress in the space sector. They do not want to present India’s space success to the world. They have insulted our scientists and our space sector.” “Now it is high time the DMK is punished for their deeds,” the Prime Minister thundered.

Mr Modi’s sharp attacks have been amplified by the BJP’s state unit boss, K Annamalai, who posted a long and emotive post on X, in which he slammed his rival’s “total disregard for our country’s sovereignty” and labelled the rocket issue a “manifestation of DMK’s commitment to China.”

“On a day when the PM is in Tamil Nadu… a DMK minister gives out a newspaper ad with a Chinese rocket, and Kanimozhi, a senior MP, defends it, saying, ‘What is wrong in having a Chinese picture?'” The DMK MP had said, “I don’t think India has declared China an ‘enemy country’. The PM invited Chinese PM (Xi Jinping) and they went to Mamallapuram (a historic temple town near Chennai). You (the BJP) don’t want to accept the truth and so are finding reasons to divert the issue,” she said.

“DMK wants to stop the rocket-launching facility from coming here. And, for that, they are going to any end to please their (Chinese) masters. When India is celebrating… we have DMK glorifying China, Chinese people, and their flag. We expect a bare minimum apology…” Mr Annamalai ranted.

Earlier, while addressing the gathering in Tirunelveli, Mr Modi attacking the DMK government said, “DMK is a party that does not work but steers ahead to take false credit. Who doesn’t know that these people paste their stickers on our schemes. Now they have crossed the limits, they have pasted China’s sticker to take credit for ISRO launch pad in Tamil Nadu,” Modi said who was on a two-day visit to Tamil Nadu to lay foundation stones and launch multiple development projects in the state.

Annamalai said the DMK, which is steeped in corruption, has been desperate to paste stickers ever since the announcement of a spaceport in Kulasekarapattinam. “The amount of desperation only proves their attempt to bury their past misdeeds, but we must remind them that DMK was why the Satish Dhawan Space Centre is today in Andhra Pradesh and not Tamil Nadu,” Annamalai wrote on X.

He claimed that when the first launch pad of ISRO was conceptualised, Tamil Nadu was the first choice of the space agency and blamed former Chief Minister C N Annadurai’s callous attitude for letting the space project go from the state.

“This was the treatment our country’s space programme received 60 years ago. DMK hasn’t changed much and has only become worse,” Annamalai said.



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