The people of Tamil Nadu are struggling because of the policies of the BJP-led government at the Centre and the AIADMK government in Tamil Nadu, former Congress president Rahul Gandhi said on Sunday.
Addressing a gathering during a reception organised in Perundurai, Erode, he said, “Demonetisation, the Goods and Services Tax (GST) and the response to COVID-19 has severely damaged [the lives and livelihoods of] the people of Tamil Nadu.”
Tamil Nadu used to be a manufacturing and industrial centre, but its strengths have been eliminated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he said. “Mr. Modi thinks that by controlling and blackmailing the State government, he can control the people. But he does not realise that people cannot be controlled by anyone,” he said. Only the Tamil people and the Tamil spirit can control the future of the State and not “knicker-walas from Nagpur [RSS].”
Campaigning in Kangeyam and Dharapuram in Tiruppur district, the Congress leader said Mr. Modi was destroying the foundation of the country and it was due to this that China had occupied Indian territory.
“Mr. Modi has hit the poor, labourers, weavers, farmers, fishermen and youth hard with demonetisation, and destroyed the industrial backbone with GST. He did so to help his five or six industrial friends, while claiming to work for the people of the country. This has weakened the country and that is why the Chinese have occupied our territory,” he said.
Just as a building cannot be raised over a weak foundation, a country cannot be built after destroying its foundation, a part of which are its farmers, weavers, fishermen, workers and small and medium enterprises.
Earlier, garlanding the statues of various former Chief Ministers at the Panneerselvam Park at Erode, Mr. Gandhi said the Prime Minister, the BJP and the RSS did not have respect for the culture, the language and the people of Tamil Nadu. “They do not understand that no force can make Tamil people do what they do not want to do,” he said.
The MP said that if Mr. Modi had read Tamil history, he would understand that for over 1,000 years, the Tamil people have only believed in one language — “the language of love”. He asserted that the country was known for many languages and cultures and it was the duty of its people to protect every single one of them, even as the BJP and the RSS were seeking to deny the uniqueness of Tamil culture. He said that for the first time, Indians were seeing thousands of Chinese troops occupying the country’s territory, and blamed the Prime Minister for not even uttering the word “China”. “Where is Mr. Modi, who claims to have a 56-inch chest?” he asked at another campaign point.
Mr. Gandhi said he was here to help the people to elect a government for farmers, labourers, MSMEs, and one that looks after the welfare of the people and cannot be blackmailed. He also garlanded the statue of freedom fighter Dheeran Chinnamalai, at Odanilai in Arachalur, and also interacted with weavers.
In Tiruppur district, Mr. Gandhi said that through the farm laws, Mr. Modi had started destroying mandis . If the farm laws were pro-farmers, as Mr. Modi claims, why was it that the farmers were protesting outside Delhi, Mr. Gandhi asked, and said farmers and the Congress would not allow the Central government to destroy the livelihood of lakhs of farmers.