Rameswaram (Tamil Nadu), July 27 (IANS) “I considered it my privilege to come to the holy land of Rameswaram,” said Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Tamil to the delight of the gathering he addressed here after inaugurating a memorial for late President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam.
“Nanbargale, vanakkam! Indha punidha sthalamana Rameswaram nagarathuku vandadhai en baghyamaga karudhugiren,” was the opening line in Modi’s 40-minute speech, which was peppered with Tamil words and praise for the late Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, J. Jayalalitha, and Kalam.
“Ramayanathil vanda anil pola (Like the squirrel in Ramayana),” he said, calling upon people to contribute their mite to the building of the nation.
“If a squirrel can inspire God, so can 125 crore people get together to realise the dream of Abdul Kalam for a developed India, which the government is working to achieve by 2022,” Modi said.
In the Ramayana, the squirrel is believed to have played a part in helping Lord Rama build the bridge that was used to cross into Lanka to rescue the abducted Sita.
Modi referred to Rameswaram as one of the sacred sites of 12 Jyotirlings and said he was happy to inaugurate the train that will connect the town with Ayodhya, the birthplace of Rama in Uttar Pradesh.
He called his presence at five functions as ‘panchamrut’.
The Prime Minister spoke about his government’s help to Tamil Nadu through liberal financial assistance in projects like Smart Cities, AMRUT Mission and expansion of Chennai Metro for which Rs 4,000 crore had been given.
He said Chennai, Coimbatore, Tiruchirapalli and Thanjavur are among the nine cities picked under the Smart Cities programme for development while 33 cities had been selected under the AMRUT Mission for which Rs 4,700 crore had been allocated for development of power, water, sewage and health.
Rameswaram, Madurai, Tuticorin, Tirunelveli and Nagercoil are among the cities chosen under the AMRUT Mission.
Modi lauded the Tamil Nadu government for carrying forward and implementing the schemes of the central government.
He regretted the absence of ‘Amma’ (Jayalalitha) in the function to dedicate the memorial for Kalam. “Wherever her soul is resting, I am sure it is blessing the state.”
Modi complimented the people of Tamil Nadu. “A new India cannot be built without the participation of new Tamil Nadu.”