Striking an emotive chord with the people of Tamil Nadu, Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi on Friday said Sri Lankan Tamil civilians will have to be given their due political rights and the party will "stand by the Tamil people".
"The prime minister and the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government will stand by the Tamil people. We have sent central ministers and high officials to put pressure on the Sri Lankan government," he said at an election rally held in support of party candidate Sarubala Thondaman.
Gandhi, who has emerged the Congress party's star campaigner, said civilians in Sri Lanka need to be protected and any solution to the island nation's problem will have to come through the democratic way.
"The civilians in Sri Lanka haven't harmed anybody and they need to be protected. If there has to be a solution to the Sri Lankan problem, it has to come through democratic means," Gandhi said earlier at a rally in Sivaganga in support of party candidate and union Home Minister P Chidambaram.
He said, "The Indian government will do whatever is needed to protect the Tamil civilians."
He also said Tamils have a special and large place in the hearts of his family members and it is important to protect "our brothers" in Sri Lanka.
"Tamils living all over the world - in the US, Europe and Sri Lanka - have a special place in our hearts."
Listing out the achievements of the UPA government, like farm debt waiver, employment guarantee schemes and promoting self-help groups, Gandhi said: "We have given thousands of crores of rupees for the development of Tamil Nadu. The central government's first decision was to sanction setting up of a desalination plant in the state."
He also said the central government does not seek to have two different Indias - one for the rich and one for the poor.
"We want one India and our goal is to improve the poor people."
Referring to his visits to Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, the Congress leader said he will visit Tamil Nadu regularly after the elections.
The Lok Sabha elections in Tamil Nadu for its 39 seats, and for Puducherry's lone seat will be held May 13.