Rahul Gandhi watches jallikattu in Tamil Nadu; says its a message to Centre

PTI | Chennai | Updated: 14-01-2021 17:06 IST | Created: 14-01-2021 17:06 IST
Rahul Gandhi watches jallikattu in Tamil Nadu; says its a message to Centre

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi onThursday watched the bull taming sport jallikattu here,noting the animals were not getting injured as was being madeout and said his visit was a message to the Centre that wantsto ''suppress'' the Tamil culture.

The BJP ridiculed Gandhi for his 'hypocrisy' bywitnessing jallikattu and praising the sport, reminding thatthe Congress-led UPA had banned it in 2011.

Sharpening his attack against Prime Minister NarendraModi and the NDA government over the three contentious farmlaws which have put farmers, mainly from Punjab and Haryanaon the warpath, he accused the government of ''conspiring todestroy'' peasants to benefit a select few businessmen.

Flanked by senior Congress leaders KC Venugopal,Puducherry Chief Minister V Narayanasamy and TNCC President KS Alagiri, Gandhi witnessed jallikattu at Avaniapuram hereand said his visit was aimed at sending out a message to''those who think they can run roughshod on Tamil people.'' The former party president was joined by DMK Youth WingSecretary Udhayanidhi Stalin on the dais.

Jallikattu is held in the state, especially with muchvigour in this district, coinciding with the Tamil harvestfestival Pongal which heralds the auspicious Tamil monthThai.

''One of the main reasons I came is, today thegovernment in Delhi is under the impression that they candestroy the cultures of this country. They believe that theycan suppress the emotions of Tamil people, they believe theycan crush the language of the Tamil people, they can suppressthe spirit of the Tamil people.'' ''I came to give them a message that nobody cansuppress the Tamil spirit,'' he told reporters at the airporthere before returning to Delhi.

After witnessing jallikattu he got a sense of whyTamil people appreciate it, Gandhi said.

''There was a sense. Many people had mentioned to methat jallikatu is harmful to the bulls. I witnessed it todayand I must say that the way it was done there was absolutelyno chance of the bull getting injured.'' ''In fact if it was anyone to get injured it was theyoung men doing jallikattu. I am happy to say that there havebeen some changes to make it safer for everybody,'' he said.

Gandhi further said he flew down from Delhi to watchthe hugely popular event ''because I think Tamil culture,Tamil language (and) Tamil history are essential for thefuture of India and need to be respected by everybody.'' The Tamil spirit cannot be crushed, he said, adding hewas 'completely' against the idea of one particular idea,language and notion.

''There are many different languages, ideas and allthese contribute to our strength and that is my message,'' hesaid.

However, the BJP lashed out at the Congress leaderover his visit to the temple town today.

Party national general secretary and Tamil Naduin-charge, C T Ravi accused Gandhi of insulting Tamil 'makkal'(people) on jallikattu with his hypocrisy.

Taking a dig at Rahul's visit to Avaniyapuram, Ravimade a referrence to the UPA government banning the sport byadding bulls in the list of performing animals.

''Dear @RahulGandhi, Your Govt in 2011 labelled#Jallikattu as cruel & barbaric. Your Party manifestosupported ban on Jallikattu. Today, you are in Tamil Nadu towatch this traditional sport live. Aren't you insultinglovely Tamil Makkal with your hypocrisy? Happy Pongal,'' Ravisaid in a tweet.

Hitting out at the Centre on the contentiousfarm laws, Gandhi alleged that the government was ''conspiringto destroy'' the ryots and asserted that his party will standwith them.

''The government is not just neglecting them (farmers),the government is conspiring to destroy them. There is adifference. Neglecting is ignoring...they are not ignoringthem,'' he said in response to a query.

''They are trying to destroy them, because they want tobenefit two or three of their friends. They want to give whatbelongs to the farmer to two or three of their friends,'' healleged.

''You are suppressing the farmers (and) helping handfulof businesses,'' he said.

Extending his party's support to the farmers, Gandhisaid the laws will indeed be repealed.

''Mark my words..these laws-- the government will beforced to take them back,'' he said, adding he was ''proud'' ofwhat the farmers were doing (protesting against the laws).

Charging Narendra Modi with ''not supporting'' the commonman during the coronavirus pandemic, Gandhi asked ''whosePrime Minister are you?'' ''Are you the Prime Minister of the people of India orthe Prime Minster of two-three selected businessmen?'' heasked.

He also sought to know why Modi was ''silent'' on themonths long Sino-India standoff, asking ''why are the Chinesepeople sitting inside Indian territory.'' Earlier, Gandhi attended the Pongal celebrations withpeople of Thenpalanji village in the district and also hadfood with them. He took photos with local youth and interactedwith some elderly people.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)


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