Updated: March 29, 2021 7:01:33 am
RAHUL GANDHI should take the leadership role to unite opposition parties across India to fight the BJP-led government at the Centre, DMK chief M K Stalin said on Sunday at a rally organised by his party and its alliance partners at Salem, the home turf of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami and an AIADMK stronghold.
With the former Congress president sharing the stage, Stalin said, “Here, I have a kind request to Rahul Gandhi… No, a firm request. When we talk over the phone, sometimes I call him [Rahul] ‘Sir’. He would then correct me, he would ask me to call him brother. My brother Rahul, here is my humble and heartfelt request to you…”
“India is being destroyed in the clutches of a Fascist government now. You have the responsibility to protect India at this time. Let it be assembly or Lok Sabha elections, it was the united secular front in Tamil Nadu that ensured a washout of the BJP front. The same is going to repeat again now in this election,” Stalin said, referring to the April 6 assembly elections in the state.
The DMK chief said only 37 per cent of the people had given the BJP the mandate to form the government. “What does it mean? 63 per cent of people voted for different parties against the BJP front. When we [in Tamil Nadu] ensured the BJP’s defeat with a united secular alliance, it hasn’t happened anywhere else in India. I request you to take the leadership, come forward and lead India,” said Stalin, whose also reminded the people that those who vote for the DMK will also be voting to make him the chief minister of the state.
Interestingly, during a massive rally held in Chennai in December 2018, which was attended by many opposition leaders from different states, it was Stalin who first proposed the name of Rahul as the Prime Minister candidate for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
With hardly eight days left for the state elections, Sunday’s rally at Salem was the first in which Rahul and Stalin shared the stage as the Congress leader’s previous campaigns in the state were at a time when there were tussles between both parties over seat-sharing talks.
While the Congress is contesting 25 seats in the alliance, the party leadership is expecting to win over 15 of them, unlike in 2016 when the Congress had won only eight of the 41 seats it contested in DMK alliance.
Rahul, who spoke after Stalin, said the state was “witnessing a full scale attack on Tamil language culture and history” by the BJP government at the Centre.
“Today we wear masks everywhere. When you wear a mask, it is difficult to recognise… If we smile at someone, they wouldn’t be knowing that… This is what you have to understand about AIADMK too,” Rahul said, using the metaphor of mask. “This is not the old AIADMK, please do not be confused. This is an AIADMK with a mask on top of it… If you take off the mask, you will find that it is not the AIADMK but RSS and BJP are behind the mask.”
“That old AIADMK is gone… It is finished. It is now a hollow shell that is controlled by the RSS and BJP. And the people of Tamil Nadu have to be careful, they have to understand what is behind their mask,” Rahul said, accusing Palaniswami of surrendering the party and falling at the feet of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah when no Tamil would like to touch their feet. Rahul said the “corrupt CM Palaniswami” has to do it because Modi controls the ED, CBI and other central agencies.
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