Rahul Gandhi, former and future Congress party President is slated to witness the bull-taming sport of Jallikattu in Tamil Nadu’s Madurai district on Thursday. The visit by Rahul Gandhi comes at a time when the state is prepping for the upcoming assembly polls in April-May this year.
The Congress’ state unit has called the visit of Rahul Gandhi a move which will “lend moral support” to farmers protesting against the new farm laws. Additionally, Gandhi’s visit has been claimed by Congress as the “Rahulin Tamizh Vanakkam (Rahul’s Tamil welcome).”
The Congress is fighting the upcoming elections under the leadership of the DMK, which is expected to give peanuts to the Grand Old Party in the name of “seat-sharing”. Perhaps a realisation of the Congress’ irrelevance in Tamil Nadu is the main reason for the party casually conducting itself and taking an explicit U-turn on the issue of Jallikattu no less. Tamil Nadu was gripped with fierce protests in 2017 against the Supreme Court’s ban on the bull-taming sport, which has been an ancient cultural practice of the Tamil people.
Yet, in its 2016 elections manifesto, the Congress party had vowed to bring about a ban on Jallikattu. The very fact that Rahul Gandhi has gone from promising a ban on the bull sport to now being a spectator of the same, shows just how much the Congress is willing to turn back on its promises if they seem to pay immediate political brownie points.
“The bull is a symbol of farmers and part of their lives,” the Tamil Nadu Congress Committee President said. His visit is to “honour the farmers and the valorous Tamil culture on the day of harvest festival and he will not engage in the election campaign on that day,” he added.
Meanwhile, in the backdrop of the Rahul Gandhi landing in Tamil Nadu for witnessing the Pongal celebrations and being a spectator to a sport his party promised to ban only five years ago, the Congress unit in the state has taken to covering up its tracks.
Congress has been reportedly trying to convince the public that it never advocated a ban on the bull-taming sport. Yet, there are umpteen media reports which have stated that the party indeed promised a ban on Jallikattu in its 2016 manifesto. The Tamil Nadu Congress Committee (TNCC) on Tuesday (January 12) had tweeted a picture of the same page of the manifesto that had a line which was not present in the earlier version.
“Serious efforts will be taken to conduct Jalllikattu sport that was banned by the BJP government,” was the highlighted portion of the alleged manifesto posted by TNCC on Tuesday. However, the said statement was nowhere to be found in the original manifesto which can be accessed from internet archives.
— Tamil Nadu Congress Committee (@INCTamilNadu) January 12, 2021
To save itself the embarrassment and to evade the ire of the Tamilian public, Rahul Gandhi now seems to have resorted to fudging on the election manifesto of Congress. The BJP has not given a miss to the same and is mounting an offensive against the Congress for their gut-turning hypocrisy on the issue of Jallikattu.