January 24, 2021 2:53:29 am
Months ahead of the Assembly polls and a week after his visit to Madurai for Pongal celebrations and a Jallikattu event, former Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Saturday launched what may be his longest campaign in Tamil Nadu with a roadshow in Coimbatore.
In his speeches, Gandhi was seen largely targeting the BJP government at the Centre rather than the ruling AIADMK in the state.
The Congress leader’s three-day visit will cover important portions of the western Tamil Nadu districts, including Coimbatore, Tirupur and Karur.
“You have a government in Tamil Nadu that is compromised. Narendra Modi uses agencies like CBI and Enforcement Directorate for this,” Gandhi said, adding that Modi cannot control the people of Tamil Nadu even if the government of Tamil Nadu is under his control. “Narendra Modi feels that he can buy anybody. He thinks he can frighten anybody. He does not understand that just because he is for sale does not mean Tamil Nadu is for sale,” he said. Asserting that Nagpur — a reference to the RSS headquarters — cannot decide the future of Tamil Nadu, Gandhi said the Tamil people will decide the state’s future.
Other than brief public speeches en route, Gandhi’s campaign plan, titled as “Rahulin Tamizh Vanakkam”, is packed with a number of interactions, including with representatives of MSMEs in Coimbatore and industrial and other working class people in Tirupur. He will also visit memorials of regional, community leaders of the Kongu belt such as Dheeran Chinnamalai who fought the British.
After meetings in Coimbatore, Gandhi stopped his convoy for tea at an ordinary cafe at Avinashi before starting his campaign in Tirupur.
While Coimbatore also witnessed a roadshow by Chief Minister and AIADMK leader Edappadi K Palaniswami on Saturday, Gandhi invoked memories of his family with Tamil Nadu. Addressing a gathering at Chinniyampalayam, he reminded the crowd that they had a loving relationship with his grandmother and father. “You have given me so much love for which I am committed to you… That’s what made me come here now. I want to help you once again to build Tamil Nadu,” he said.
The Congress leader said, “I can see Tamil Nadu is India and India is Tamil Nadu unlike Modi-ji, who says Tamil Nadu is part of India but India is not Tamil Nadu. Narendra Modi disrespects Tamil Nadu. We will never allow disrespect towards Tamil people,” he said.
During his long interaction with different groups, including MSME representatives and labourers, he criticised the GST system and how industries had been affected by the tax policy and demonetisation.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines