Rahul Gandhi will visit Tamil Nadu on Wednesday, when the festival of Pongal will be celebrated, and witness the controversial bull naming program “Jallikattu”.
The party’s Tamil Nadu chief KS Alagiri said today that Congress leaders will show their support for the farmers by watching the program organized in Madurai.
“The bull is a symbol of farmers and a part of their lives,” he said.
His visit “will honor farmers and heroic Tamil culture on the day of harvest festival,” Mr. Alagiri said that Congress MPs would not join any election campaign on that day.
The party has billed Rahul Gandhi’s visit, months before the Tamil Nadu elections, as “Rahulin Tameez Vanakkam (Rahul’s Tamil welcome)”. Elections are to be held in the state in April-May.
Mr. Gandhi will land in Madurai and spend four hours in the temple city.
Jallikattu has been controversial due to allegations of animal cruelty. The Supreme Court banned the bull-tamming game in 2014 following petitions by the Animal Welfare Board of India and The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).
However, the state government argued that Jallikattu was important to the culture and identity of Tamil Nadu. The ban was lifted with amendments to the law in 2017 following mass protests in Chennai.
The government has allowed this year’s event with restrictions due to coronaviruses. The number of players in any event cannot exceed 150 and participants require a COVID-19 negative certificate. The viewership has also halved.
The DMK-Congress alliance won the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, won 37 out of 38 seats in Tamil Nadu and is hoping to repeat the same in the assembly elections as well.