BJP working president J P Nadda on Saturday toed Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Tamil pitch, hailing it as an ancient language and heaped praise on saint poet Tiruvalluvar in sync with the State unit's line of identifying with the bard who is synonymous with Tamil pride.
Laying the foundation stone for party offices in 16 districts in Tamil Nadu, Nadda said Congress and its ally DMK leadership boasted of waiving farm loans.
"Congress and DMK leadership boasts that for the farmers, they have waived loans and given Rs 53,000 crore," he said on his first one day visit of Tamil Nadu after taking over as BJP working chief.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, under the Kisan Samman Nidhi Yojana is giving Rs 6,000 per farmer and providing Rs 75,000 crore for farmers every year, he said.
"I find the Opposition sends confused signals and have nothing to offer to the people of Tamil Nadu. They are always trying to ensure how sectarianism can develop. That is how they are functioning. The BJP is devoted to work for the people of Tamil Nadu." He also touched on fishermen and the Cauvery issues, which are among the key concerns of Tamil Nadu, to assert that the Centre has taken steps to protect the State's interests.
"We've also taken...measures to ensure the shooting on the fishermen off the coast of Tamil Nadu ends. We've also settled the authority for Cauvery waters so that the rights of Tamil Nadu are secured..." Toeing Modi's Tamil pitch, Nadda said Indian culture was incomplete without Tamil culture and the State is home to maximum temples and ancient shrines as well. Tracing the legacy of Chera, Chola and Pandiya kings of Tamil Nadu, he said such great rulers gave the direction to work for the people.
Repeating Modi's 'Yaadum Oorey' verses from Sangam literature, he said Tamil Nadu was also the land of great freedom fighters, including V O Chidambaram Pillai and late President, A P J Abdul Kalam. Hailing saint poet Tiruvalluvar, he heaped praise on his classic "Thirukkural" as a "mahakavya," one of the greatest literary works the Tamil language has ever produced.
The top BJP leader's invoking of Tiruvalluvar, an undisputed icon of the Tamil social and cultural landscape, comes close on the heels of a recent row over his party's State unit featuring Tiruvalluvar in saffron.
While DMK and other Dravidian outfits cried foul, the BJP state unit was firm on its stand and maintained that Tiruvalluvar was a Hindu saint and there was nothing wrong in portraying him in saffron. The saffron party leaders had said that originally the poet had been shown in old Tamil books as sporting the attire of a saint replete with 'rudraksha,' and his shawl's colour was changed to white by the DMK.
"Tamil is one of the most ancient languages which humanity has seen. You can understand how important Tamil Nadu's culture and literature is as PM Modi narrated several sentences in Tamil in the United Nations General Assembly," Nadda said.
Hailing Tamil culture as ancient culture, he said it has given direction not only to the people of Tamil Nadu, but to the people all over India.
"I feel indebted...the people and the culture of Tamil Nadu are special, which we will always remember," he said.
The BJP does not work from the houses of leaders and it works from the offices, and thus, his party decided to have a party office in each district, he noted.
Taking pride in BJP being a "democratic party in the truest sense," he said Narendra Modi, an ordinary party worker from a humble background, had risen to become Prime Minister, while Amit Shah, with no political background, had become the Union Home Minister and the party's national president.
Of the more than 1,300 registered political parties in India and seven national parties, the BJP is the only cadre- based and non-dynastic party. Hence, BJP workers were lucky to be part of it, which is ideology driven. "BJP is the world's largest political party," he said.
Sources told PTI that Nadda, while addressing party functionaries,advised them to concentrate on strengthening the party "at the grassroots level right from booth committees", which would ensure a bright future for the BJP in Tamil Nadu.
Earlier on his arrival at Chennai airport,he was given a rousing reception by BJP workers,who showered him with petals.
The top leader was taken in a horse driven chariot, flanked by senior Tamil Nadu leader L Ganesan and former Union Minister Pon Radhakrishnan. National general secretary P Muralidhar Rao was among other senior leaders who were present.
The 16 districts which will get new office buildings include Tiruvallur, Dharmapuri, Kanyakumari, Krishnagiri, Namakkal, Villuupuram, Theni and Tirunelveli.