Chennai, Feb 15 (PTI) Tamil Nadu Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam today dismissed as a ‘lie’ the claim of Union Minister Pon Radhakrishnan that the state was becoming a “training centre” for extremists.

“It is a blatant lie,” he said answering a question from reporters here on Radhakrishnan’s remark yesterday.

He also asserted that Tamil Nadu continued to be a haven of peace.

“In the whole of India, it is in Tamil Nadu where law and order situation is good and the state is a haven of peace and if the incidents in other states are compared, one will be able to understand it,” Panneerselvam said.

Speaking at a meeting in Coimbatore yesterday to pay homage to the 1998 serial bomb blast victims, Radhakrishnan had charged that Tamil Nadu was “becoming the camp and training centre” for extremists.

“Tamil Nadu is no longer the peaceful state (amaidhi poonga)… Naxalites, Maoists, Tamil extremists and Islamic terrorists have joined hands against the administration, which was evident during the jallikkattu agitation last year, the Union Minister of State for Finance and Shipping had alleged.

Such extremist elements were engaged in planning for next 10 to 20 years, Radhakrishnan had said adding it was not known if the incumbent regime in Tamil Nadu knew it.

Panneerselvam also targeted the Centre over scaling down devolution of tax proceeds to Tamil Nadu.

He said the union government had been reducing devolution saying it was a developed state, and added that it was a “wrong economic premise.”

To encourage Tamil Nadu further its pioneering projects and welfare schemes, he said the 15th Finance Commission should devolve “appropriate and fair share of tax proceeds.” Asked on Palaniswami-led government completing a year in office and whether he regretted demitting the Chief Minister’s office, he sounded philosophical.

“What did we bring to lose,” he quipped which was a reference from the Bhagavad Gita.

K Palaniswami, an AIADMK strongman from the Western Tamil Nadu Kongu region, became the Chief Minister after Panneerselvam’s revolt last February against late J Jayalalithaa’s aide V K Sasikala.

Just before Sasikala went to jail in the disproportionate assets case in February 2017, she had led a party meet in which Palaniswami was elected legislature party leader paving the way for him to become the Chief Minister.

In August last year, Palaniswami and Panneerselvam came together easing out Sasikala and her close relative T T V Dhinakaran from the party.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.