Right from Monday evening, there was a furore in Tamil Nadu political circles and in the social media, after there was a claim that that the Central government has shifted Pongal holiday from ‘compulsory holidays list’ to ‘restricted holidays’ list.
But a verficiation clearly shows otherwise. For a long time, Pongal has been in the list of optional holidays only and even PMK leader Anbumani Ramadoss, a bitter critic of the union government, has accepted this.
In a statement, the former union minister said, “as far as I know, Pongal is only in optional holidays list. Based on wrong reports, TN political parties including DMK and AIADMK have announced protests.”
He however said Pongal should be declared as national holiday and he would soon meet prime minister Narendra Modi with this request.
BJP state secretary K T Raghavan, who has shared past official releases (issued in UPA government) about Pongal as optional holiday, said, “half baked political leaders are saying this as a new move. They should cross-verify the facts.”
AIADMK general secretary VK Sasikala, DMK working president MK Stalin, TNCC president S Thirunavukkarasar, MDMK general secretary Vaiko, CPM leader TK Rangarajan, Dravidar Kazhagam president K Veeramani and MMK leader MH Jawahirullah were among those who raised their voice on this issue.
While Stalin announced an agitation on January 11, Veeramani announced agitation on January 12.
In a statement, Sasikala said it was the duty of the Centre to respect the sentiments of Tamils and declare Pongal as a compulsory holiday . “The rights of Tamils were established due to the ef forts taken by the former chief minister J Jayalalithaa. On the same lines, Tamil Nadu expects the Centre to fulfill its expectations,” she said.