Rahul dubs AIADMK a BJP 'mask', Stalin asks him to forge national front against saffron party

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(Eds: Combines related stories) Chennai, Mar 28 (PTI) The ruling AIADMK is a 'mask' of the RSS and BJP and Chief Minister K Palaniswami bowed to saffron party leaders as he indulged in 'corruption,' Congress leader Rahul Gandhi alleged on Sunday in his campaign in Tamil Nadu for the April 6 Assembly polls.

DMK chief M K Stalin requested Gandhi to form an alliance against the BJP at the national level.

Stalin, Gandhi and all other leaders of the DMK-led Secular Progressive Alliance took part in a grand public meeting held at Salem.

Expressing confidence that his party's ally, DMK would win polls hands down and the Dravidian party chief M K Stalin would become Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, Gandhi said these days one could see people wearing masks due to COVID-19 pandemic, making recognising those behind masks difficult.

Masks hid 'something' and one could not figure out if a person reciprocated a friendly smile, the Congress MP said adding similar was the case as regards the Tamil Nadu's ruling party the AIADMK.

'This is not the old AIADMK, please do not be confused.

This is the AIADMK with a mask on top of it. It looks like the AIADMK.

But if you take off the mask, you will find it is not the AIADMK behind the mask, it is the RSS, BJP behind the mask,' he alleged.

The 'old AIADMK' was dead and gone he claimed, hinting at the end of the era of party supremo J Jayalalithaa, who died in 2016 and who had opposed the BJP in 2014 Lok Sabha polls.

'It is now a hollow shell which is controlled by the RSS and BJP and the people of Tamil Nadu have to be careful and understand what is behind this mask and why this mask is on.' Though no Tamilian would like to bow in front of Prime Minister Narendra Modi or touch the feet of Union Home Minister Amit Shah or RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat, he asked why Chief Minister and AIADMK top leader K Palaniswami 'submitted' himself to them when such subservience went against the Tamil culture and tradition.

Though Palaniswami does not wish to bow in front of Modi, he has to do so since the PM 'controlled' the Enforcement Directorate and the CBI.

'The Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu has been corrupt and he has no choice,' he alleged.

Stalin in his address alleged India was 'suffocating due to the communal, fascist' forces and Gandhi had a big responsibility to protect the nation against it.

The BJP could not win even a single Lok Sabha seat from Tamil Nadu in the 2019 Parliamentary polls as secular parties, led by the DMK came together, he said.

Also, the ensuing Assembly polls would be a 'washout' for the BJP in Tamil Nadu in view of his party led Secular Progressive Alliance, he claimed and cited opinion polls that favoured his party-led combine.

Stalin said the BJP got only a 37 per cent vote share in the Lok Sabha polls in 2019, which meant that the remainder, 63 per cent of people opposed it, but they voted for different parties.

There was no coalition at the national level -similar to the one in Tamil Nadu- against the saffron party in the last Lok Sabha polls, he said.

Hence, Rahul Gandhi should take the responsibility to stitch an alliance against the BJP at the national level. The Congress leader should take efforts immediately towards building such an alliance, he added.

Earlier in a public meeting here, Gandhi alleged Palaniswami is 'trapped' due to graft and he bowed in front of Amit Shah as he had indulged in corruption.

The ruling AIADMK is facing the polls in alliance with the Pattali Makkal Katchi, the BJP, the former union minister GK Vaasan led Tamil Maanila Congress (Moopanar) and other smaller parties. PTI VGN ROH ROH