#Goback_Rahul trended on Twitter with BJP accusing the Congress leader of opportunistic politics.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and DMK youth wing secretary Udhayanidhi Stalin
news Politics Thursday, January 14, 2021 - 15:20

Congress leader and Wayanad MP Rahul Gandhi and DMK youth wing secretary Udhayanidhi Stalin attended the jallikattu event at Avaniyapuram in Madurai on Thursday, the first day of the Pongal celebrations in the state. His visit to Tamil Nadu comes with months to go for the Assembly Elections. 

Rahul Gandhi said, “I would like to thank everybody for inviting me here today. It was a lovely experience to see Tamil culture and history in action. I am happy to see that jallikattu is conducted in an organized and safe way. It ensures that youngsters and everybody is safe.” 

“I have specially come here since Tamil culture, language and history is important for the future of India and it needs to be respected by everyone in India. I have come here to give a message to those people who think they can roughshod Tamil people and push aside Tamil language and culture,” he said. 

He also said that it was his duty to stand with the people of Tamil Nadu. Rahul Gandhi said, “I have received tremendous love and affection of Tamil people. It is also my duty to stand with the people of Tamil Nadu to protect history and culture. I have also come here to learn the history, emotion and culture of the people.” He also conveyed his Pongal wishes.

The jallikattu events also paved the way for Udhayanidhi Stalin and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi to share the stage. While the DMK and Congress are likely to continue their alliance in 2021, it is unclear whether the two leaders discussed the elections during their meeting. 

Along with Rahul Gandhi, AICC General Secretary KC Venugopal, TNCC chief KS Alagiri and Puducherry Chief Minister Narayanaswamy were also present. to attend the jallikattu event. KS Alagiri earlier said that Rahul Gandhi will extend support to the protesting farmers by watching jallikattu. Two people even reportedly raised slogans supporting the Delhi farmers' protest at the venue.

Rahul Gandhi’s visit however saw #Goback_Rahul trend on Twitter. A number of BJP functionaries and right-wing groups accused the Congress leader of opportunistic politics.

“Your UPA govt was responsible for the ban on the traditional Jallikattu by adding Bulls in the list of performing animals. You have no moral right to come to Avaniyapuram,” said BJP spokesperson Narayanan Thirupathy 

The UPA government had in 2011 banned the use of the bull as a performing animal. However, jallikattu continued in Tamil Nadu owing to state legislation. In 2014,the Supreme Court banned the sport, striking down the state law as unconstitutional.  

Three years later in January 2017, huge protests erupted in Tamil Nadu with a massive demonstration in Marina Beach against the Supreme Court’s decision to ban the sport citing animal cruelty. After days of protests, the AIADMK government passed an ordinance allowing jallikattu.  

The bulls of several politicians including AIADMK Minister for Revenue RB Udhayakumar and DMK leader Udhayanidhi Stalin participated in the jallikattu event at Madurai. Udhayanidhi Stalin said, “This is the first time I’ve come to Avaniyapuram. Madurai is all about braveness and jallikattu is the best example. From now on, I’ll come every year and will participate in the event .Thank you everyone for giving me this opportunity.”

The Pongal festivities have also seen the arrival of BJP National President JP Nadda and RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat in Tamil Nadu. The RSS chief celebrated Pongal by making a surprise visit to the home of an RSS functionary. He also offered prayers at Sri Kadumbadi Chinnamman Temple in Ponniammanmedu here and took part in community Pongal celebrations. BJP National President Nadda will also take part in community Pongal events and a private event of Thuglak magazine in Chennai.

Show us some love! Support our journalism by becoming a TNM Member - Click here.