Hours after Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he regretted not being able to learn the world’s oldest language Tamil during his long political innings as a chief minister and prime minister, Home Minister Amit Shah followed suit.
Addressing a Vijay Sankalp election rally in Viluppuram in Tamil Nadu, Shah also rued the fact that he couldn’t talk to his supporters in ‘one of the oldest, sweetest languages’.
“I am sad that I cannot talk to you in Tamil that is one of the oldest and sweetest languages of India, I seek your forgiveness," he was quoted by ANI as saying.
Continuing his onslaught against the Opposition Congress, Shah said, “On one side, there’s AIADMK & NDA thinking about welfare of the poor while DMK & Congress on the other end are corrupt & follow politics of divide & rule. Sonia ji is worried about making Rahul baba PM & Stalin is concerned about making Udhayanidhi the CM."
Shah asked people to choose between the “sons and daughters of kings and emperors" and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s development agenda. The DMK-Congress alliance “believes in dynasty politics," he said.
“On one side there is the NDA that protects India. Today none can dare do anything in India’s borders. Pakistan dared to do things in Uri, Pulwama. Narendra Modi taught it a lesson by entering its house (and carry out attacks) by directing the military," he said in reference to the Balakot air strikes. The Indian Air Force had in February 2019 attacked terror launch pads in Pakistan’s Balakot area, days after over 40 CRPF jawans were killed in a terror attack in Pulwama in Jammu and Kashmir.
“On the other side, you have the DMK and Congress parties who are only worried about their families, (which are) steeped in corruption and do the politics of divide and rule.
Shah said, voters have to choose ‘Lotus’ and ‘Two Leaves,’ the respective symbols of the BJP and the AIADMK, he said. The AIADMK-BJP coalition will work on the philosophy of the late chief ministers M G Ramachandran (AIADMK founder) and J Jayalalithaa, besides that of his party, Shah said.
Hailing Ramachandran as the true “makkal thilagam," (people’s leader) Shah said he was reminded of the stalwart when he saw Modi working for the Dalits, backward and oppressed today, recalling the Tamil Nadu veteran’s service for these sections.
Earlier in the day, during his monthly ‘Mann Ki Baat’ radio address, the prime minister had said sometimes even a very small and simple question rankles the mind. “A few days ago Aparna Reddy ji of Hyderabad asked me one such question. She said ‘You have been PM for so many years and were CM for so many years. Do you ever feel that something is missing?" Modi said.
Noting that the question seemed simple but was difficult, he said, “I pondered this over and told myself that one of my shortcomings was that I could not make much effort to learn Tamil, the oldest language in the world; I could not make myself learn Tamil!" The prime minister praised the Tamil language and its rich literature. “It is such a beautiful language, which is popular all over the world. Many people have told me a lot about the quality of Tamil literature and the depth of the poems written in it," he said.
The language card is an important political card in the southern state as it has often criticised the saffron party for trying to impose Hindi on non-Hindi speaking states. The issue came to a head after the Centre released the three-language formula in the National Education Policy 2020.
(With PTI inputs)