In a bid to strike an emotional chord with the tribals at the foothill of Niyamgiri in Kalahandi district, Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi on Thursday began his speech in Oriya.
Apan Mananku, Samastnku Juhar (I greet all of you), Rahul told the audience in the opening line of his speech to the loud applause from the audience.
Earlier former Orissa minister Suresh Routray in his speech had strongly criticised chief minister Naveen Patnaik for being unable to speak in Oriya language even though he completed 10 years in power.
Former chief minister Giridhar Gamang and Hemananda Biswal highlighted Gandhi family's close bond with tribals and reminded the gathering that Rahul was also fond of tribals like his predecessors.
Rahul shook hands with the people who were on the other side of the security barricade but was cautious about breaking the barricade as he had done earlier.
The Congress leader was given a traditional welcome by boys and girls as soon as he alighted from the chopper.