TIRUPUR: Continuing to target Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his second day of campaign in Tamil Nadu, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Sunday alleged Chinese troops have occupied Indian territory and the man with “56 inch-chest” cannot even utter the name of the neighbouring country.
Addressing meetings here and in neighbouring Erode as part of three-day campaign tour of Tamil Nadu for the assembly elections to be held in the next few months, he also repeated his charge that Modi governed the country for just five or six business people.
The Central government was not for the farmers, labourers or the Micro Small or Medium Enterprises, that are the nation’s future and abound in this region of the state, Gandhi, on a campaign tour of western districts, said.
“For the first time, the Indian people can see that Chinese troops have occupied Indian territory.
As we speak today, thousands of Chinese troops are occupying our territory and the man with a 56-inch chest cannot even say the word China. That is the reality of our country,” he said.
Taking forward his ‘Tamil language and culture’ pitch to connect with the people and attack the BJP, the Congress MP said he wanted to be the soldier of the Tamil people in Delhi and reiterated that he would not allow the Saffron party to disregard Tamil culture.
Gandhi, who also addressed people from his vehicle at some places during a roadshow, accused the BJP of trying to impose one culture one and language on people and relegate Tamil to a ‘second class place’.
“I understand, accept and respect the Tamil spirit and culture. I am not going to allow the Prime Minister and the BJP to disrespect the Tamil people no matter what,” he said in his speeches in English, translated into Tamil.
India was home to many diverse cultures, religions and languages…
“it is the nation’s strength. It is our duty to protect ever single language, culture and religion in this country,” he said.
In a veiled attack on Modi’s monthly radio programme, the top Congress leader said his Tamil Nadu visit was not to tell people his ‘Mann Ki Baat,’ or advise them on what they should do but to listen to them, understand their problems and help resolve them.
He said the rest of the country could learn a lot from Tamil Nadu history and language.
Waving at people from his car at key intersections, the Congress leader also got off the vehicle and shook hands with people waiting on the roadside at several junctions.
He was accorded a warm welcome by party workers who played traditional music.
While many presented him shawls, some showered rose petals on him.
An elderly woman applied ‘Vibuthi’ (sacred ash) on his forehead as a mark of blessings and several took ‘selfies’ with him.
He garlanded a statue of late chief minister and Congress stalwart K Kamaraj.