Published Date: August 17, 2020
DMK MLA Palanivel Thiaga Rajan slammed the AIADMK for proposing Madurai as Tamil Nadu’s second capital, questioning why the ruling party was pushing such a demand with just months to go for the Assembly Elections. Speaking to TNM, the Madurai Central MLA said, “Of course, everybody wants Madurai to get more investment and more focus. But why are these Ministers saying this now? They have been in power for almost ten years. Why does it occur to them only after 9.5 years?”
The AIADMK’s Madurai West district unit had passed a resolution on Sunday stating that Madurai be made into Tamil Nadu’s second capital. The resolution was backed by Tamil Nadu Minister for Revenue, Disaster Management and IT RB Udayakumar, who is also the AIADMK Madurai West chief. Pointing out that Gujarat has government offices in two cities - in capital Gandhinagar and in its largest city Ahmedabad, while Andhra Pradesh will also have three capitals, Udayakumar said, “If Madurai is declared as the second capital, the southern districts will grow, this will provide opportunities for economic growth, industrial development and growth in employment.” The resolution was also endorsed by Cooperatives Minister Sellur K Raju, who is the Madurai West MLA.
However DMK’s P Thiaga Rajan, popularly known as PTR, hit out at the Ministers saying that they should not be making off-the-cuff remarks. The DMK leader said, “Here is a Cabinet that has not been able to manage the finances of the state properly, which is not able to support economic growth, who are not able to create jobs, who are not able to manage the pandemic. For them to start making random statements now at the fag end, do they think people are fools?”
“What everybody wants for Madurai is more investment, more focus, more growth, more infrastructure and better development. That is what we should talk about. Whether it is called capital or whether it is called the best city in the world, the actual quality of life is the real benchmark. What I want is outcomes for the people,” he said, “They haven’t done anything for 10 years. The infrastructure of Madurai is decaying. Even the sewage and water systems have not been focussed at all in ten years. So, this statement about a second capital doesn’t resonate with me.”
The AIADMK resolution pointed out the facilities available in Madurai - such as the Madras High Court, the international airport, the upcoming All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS) hospital - make it an ideal second capital. Addressing a press conference on Monday, Minister Sellur Raju urged CM Edappadi Palaniswami and Deputy CM O Panneerselvam to make Madurai the second capital, stating, “It was MGR’s wish to make Madurai the second capital. It was for this reason that the World Tamil Conference was held here, Jayalalithaa often made her politics related decisions in Madurai.”
In 1981, then Chief Minister MG Ramachandran endorsed Trichy to be made the capital of Tamil Nadu citing drought and lack of water resources in Chennai. However, his proposal was criticised by then DMK chief M Karunuanidhi saying that MGR had no real intention of shifting the capital, but was merely using it as a diversionary tactic.