Rahul Gandhi enjoys jallikattu in Madurai, says 'my duty to protect Tamil history, culture and language'

Congress Leader Rahul Gandhi on Thursday witnessed the popoular bull taming sport jallikattu at Avaniapuram in Tamil Nadu's Madurai diustrict.

He was joined by senior Congress leaders - KC Venugopal, TNCC chief KS Alagiri and Puducherry Chief Minister V Narayansamy - and DMK Youth Wing Secretary Udhayanidhi Stalin.

DMK chief Stalin also joined the Lok Sabha MP later and the two were seen having discussions.

Speaking after the event, Rahul Gandhi said he wanted to give a message to those who think that they can run roughshod over Tamil people, can push aside Tamil language and Tamil culture.

"It was quite a lovely experience to see Tamil culture, history in action. I'm happy that Jallikattu is being organised in a systematic and safe way that both the bull and the youngsters are safe and everybody is being taken care of," he said.

"I have come here as I think Tamil culture, language and history are essential for India's future and need to be respected. I've come here to give a message to those who think that they can run roughshod over Tamil people, can push aside Tamil language and Tamil culture," the Wayanad MP said.

"I have received tremendous love and affection from the people of Tamil Nadu and it is my duty to stand with them and protect their history, culture and language," he added.

Jallikattu is held coinciding with the Tamil harvest festival Pongal, which heralds the birth of auspicious Tamil month Thai.

DMK and Congress are in alliance and are expected to face this year's Assembly polls in Tamil Nadu together.

Alagiri had earlier said Gandhi would lend his moral support to farmers protesting against the new cental farm laws across the country by witnessing the sport at Avaniapuram.

Gandhi will not engage in electioneering today, the TNCC chief had said.

BJP president JP Nadda and RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat are also in Tamil Nadu today.

Nadda is attending the 'Namma Ooru Pongal' event, a state-wide programme launched by the party to reach out to the people, in Chennai. He will also be addressing Thuglak magazine's 51st anniversary function.

The BJP had tied up with the AIADMK for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls but it has not made any formal announcement about an alliance for the assembly polls, which are expected to be held in April-May.

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