“There is a sudden burst of claims to the freedom struggle from many quarters, which had historically refused to participate in the freedom movement,“ said Tamil Nadu Congress Committee president K.S. Alagiri in Paapireddipatti here on Thursday.
“That is the charm of freedom that Mahatma Gandhi and countless others fought for so that everybody could stake claim in its fruits,” said Mr. Alagiri, embarking on a padayatra from the memorial for freedom fighter Subramanya Siva in Dharmapuri.
Taking a dig at the RSS and its affiliates over their claims to the freedom movement and the Tricolour, the State Congress president wondered why non participants were now trying to lay claim to the movement.
He said the RSS had hoisted the Tricolor only twice since Independence. Once during Independence, the RSS hoisted the Tricolor with the saffron flag, and then once when Atal Bihari Vajpayee became the Prime Minister.
While all the States were marking Independence Day celebrations, there were BJP States that were forcing people to buy flag for ₹20 to be eligible for groceries in Public Distribution System outlets, Mr. Alagiri alleged and said patriotism could not be forced and that ran counter to freedom if the poor were forced to pay up for a flag.
The Congress president also called upon the government to announce minimum support price for oil seeds to contain the shortage of oil and inflation. “Like paddy, wheat, sugarcane, there needs to be minimum support price to enable farmers to take to cultivating oil seeds. That will help us achieve self-reliance,” Mr. Alagiri said.