Kochi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi dedicated Rs 6,100 crore worth of projects to the nation at a function in Kerala on Sunday, which had its obvious political overtones.
The schemes included the Rs 6000 crore petrochemical project at the Cochin Refinery, which he inaugurated, along with Cochin Port Trust's International Cruise Terminal and Cochin Shipyard's Vigyan Sagar, a campus for Marine Engineering Training Institute.
Modi had a clear message for the people of Kerala, reminding them of the substantial allocations made for various projects in the state, where his party BJP is making a serious bid to make inroads into the support base of both ruling LDF and opposition UDF.
He referred to the efforts made by his government to support the welfare of Indian diaspora based in the Gulf countries, a majority of them Malayalees, and thanked the rulers of those countries to respond positively to the initiatives of his government, including the Vande Bharat mission.
The speech clearly articulated a negation of the LDF government’s refrain that the Modi government was creating hurdles for the state in its development initiatives, especially in view of the multiple investigations being carried out by the central agencies into various scams involving the state government.
Modi said that for the security and progress of the future generations, the traditional concepts of infrastructure building were not good enough. Infrastructure for the future must include futuristic projects, such as the ones inaugurated by him, which can provide employment in the emerging new economy.
Chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who spoke ahead of the prime minister, even expressed a note of concern at the disinvestment of BPCL, the owner of the Cochin Refinery, saying that private investment cannot be the sole route to achieve industrial growth.
But in the same breath, Vijayan assured the prime minister of full cooperation of the state government when it comes to development projects.
Modi later attended a meeting of the core group of state BJP, where he urged the leaders of the state unit to win the confidence of the people of the state through well-considered initiatives. Faction fight has been rampant in the state unit, which has held the party back from fully exploiting people’s disappointment with both the main fronts.
The state party, under the leadership of newly-appointed K Surendran, has clearly failed to carry a major section of the party with him, prompting some of the leaders to approach the central leadership for seeking a change, but the issue continues to remain unresolved.
Ahead of his current Kerala programme, Sobha Surendran, a highly vocal critic of the state party leadership had met Modi in Delhi and got assurances that she would get due recognition in the leadership.