Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Sunday drew an analogy between the AIADMK and the mask worn to help prevent spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, alleging it was only the RSS and BJP behind the ruling party, “a mere mask." In a grand public meeting here, the first in which top leaders of all parties in the DMK-led Secular Progressive Alliance in Tamil Nadu came together, Gandhi said these days one could see people wearing masks everywhere, making recognising those behind them difficult. The masks hid ‘something’ and one could not figure out if a person reciprocated a friendly smile, he said, adding the comparison was important to understand the ruling AIADMK.
Seeking people’s support for the SPA for the April 6 Assembly polls, he targeted AIADMK, BJP’s electoral partner. “This is not the old AIADMK, please do not be confused.
This is the AIADMK with a mask on top of it. It looks like the AIADMK. But if you take off the mask, you will find it is not the AIADMK behind the mask, it is the RSS, BJP behind the mask," he alleged.
The ‘old AIADMK’ is dead and gone and it was finished, he claimed, hinting at the end of the era of party supremo J Jayalalithaa, who died in 2016 and who had opposed the BJP in 2014 Lok Sabha polls. “It is now a hollow shell which is controlled by the RSS and BJP and the people of Tamil Nadu have to be careful and understand what is behind this mask and why this mask is on." Though no Tamilian would like to bow in front of Prime Minister Narendra Modi or touch the feet of Union Home Minister Amit Shah or RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat, he asked why Chief Minister and AIADMK top leader K Palaniswami ‘submitted’ himself to them when such subservience went against the Tamil culture and tradition.
Though Palaniswami does not wish to bow in front of Modi, he has to do so since the Prime Minister ‘controlled’ the Enforcement Directorate and the CBI. “The Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu has been corrupt and he has no choice," he alleged.
However, the ‘price’ for this ‘surrender’ is paid only by the people of Tamil Nadu, he said. It was a ‘huge price’ and Tamil language, culture and history is under attack and Palaniswami is quiet despite such an assault from the Centre, he alleged.
Tamil Nadu’s biggest strength was small, medium and micro businesses and it was the manufacturing ‘capital’ of the nation and vehicles, including cars and ambulances driven across the nation, were made in the state, he said. Demonetisation and Goods and Services Tax were both an attack on Tamil innovation and manufacturing, he alleged.
Though millions of Tamil people ‘lost’ their jobs and livelihood, the CM did not question Modi over it. Similarly, Palaniswami also did not utter a word against the farm laws, the new education policy, designed to ‘harm’ Tamil interests and in connection with the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test, he claimed.
He gave a ‘blank cheque’ to Modi and Shah to do whatever they wanted despite their divisive policies, he alleged. Against such a background, Gandhi said he was sure the Tamil people would no more tolerate the ‘assault’ and made it amply clear that DMK president M K Stalin was going to become the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu.
People have already decided to make Stalin the CM and the election was only a process to ‘formalise’ their decision, he claimed. But the fight would not end with the victory of the secular alliance in Tamil Nadu and by halting the RSS-BJP forces from gaining a foothold in the state, he said.
“They have unlimited resources, unlimited money.They will try again and again and the only way to stop them is first to stop them in Tamil Nadu and then remove them (from power at the Centre) from Delhi." The ‘damage’ from right wing forces was not confined only to Tamil Nadu, but the whole of the country and it includes destruction of democracy and independent institutions,the idea behind it being helping a few friends of the Prime Minister, the Congress MP alleged. In the end, “it is only a matter of money for them", but for Congress and its allies, it was all about ‘our great nation’ and its culture, languages and tradition, he said.
Gandhi said he was convinced that “we are going to win both these fights (TN Assembly polls and one against BJP and dislodging it from power at the Centre)." He praised the Tamil people for reciprocating love and respect several times more. However, the RSS and Modi does not understand this aspect about the Tamils due to ‘arrogance,’ but would be forced to do so after the poll results, he said.
DMK president M K Stalin, Tamil Nadu Congress Committee chief K S Alagiri, Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi leader Thol Thirumavalavan, MDMK chief Vaiko and Left party leaders were among those who participated.