“The BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi have no respect for Tamil language and Tamil culture,” said Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, Sunday morning.
Rahul, who kick-started his party’s campaign for elections in Tamil Nadu in May, doubled down on his criticism of PM Modi and the BJP. He accused the Centre of insulting Tamil language and culture. It also has crippled people of the state, with schemes like demonetisation and the GST regime, he added.
Gandhi, at a rally in Erode district, said “The Centre has no respect for Tamil language and Tamil culture. He was not going to allow Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP to disrespect Tamil people.” Erode area in Western Tamil Nadu is widely seen as a stronghold of the ruling AIADMK.
He said “Demonetisation, GST (Goods & Services Tax), and fuel price hike have crippled the people of Tamil Nadu. The country is in the hands of five or six businesspeople. And they think that if they control the state government, they can control the Tamil people. But this is not true.”
Reminding the voters of his “family relationship” with the state, he said “History shows the Tamil people cannot be cheated.” Rahul’s father, former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, was assassinated at Sriperumbudur (near Chennai) in May 1991.
Rahul said that “I know of your respect for my grandmother and father. I’ve come to listen and understand your problems and to rectify them. I understand and respect Tamil culture.”
Rahul Gandhi has been camping in western Tamil Nadu since his arrival. Meanwhile the DMK and the Congress looks to repeat their sweep of the state in the 2019 Lok Sabha election.
Gandhi said, “Tamil Nadu requires a new government. That is why we want to work with you to get a government that you would be proud of.”
He also met industry reps in a city famed for its textiles, and which boasts four special economic zones (SEZs). And he told them the current tax system had crippled MSMEs. He said, these will be the first state elections, since two of Tamil Nadu’s tallest and most influential political leaders – the AIADMK’s J Jayalalithaa and the DMK’s MK Karunanidhi – passed away; leaving a massive power vacuum that many are racing to fill.