‘I will never change from secularism’: Karti Chidambaram on Tamil new year row
Congress leader and member of Parliament from Tamil Nadu Karti P Chidambaram on Tuesday denied allegations he is supporting the ideologies of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and said that he believes strongly in secularism and he would never change his path. Chidambaram's comments came after he was criticised over the issue of the Tamil new year being proposed to be changed by the DMK.
“When I said Chithirai 1 should be Tamil new year, some people criticised me as a Sanghi, BJP. Do they not hear my opinions, interviews? I will always oppose BJP’s Hindi, Hindutva policy. I will never change from secularism, my faith,” he tweeted in Tamil. He also shared two of his speeches about secularism and inclusive politics - one during Christmas celebrations in Chennai last year and an interview from February 2019 - supporting his stance.
Earlier the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam's (DMK) lawmaker Kanimozhi had said that the if her party wins the 2021 assembly election in Tamil Nadu, the date of Tamil new year would be changed from the first date of Chithirai month in the April to the first date of Thai month (Pongal festival) in January. “Chithirai 1st is the New Year. All of us who follow the traditional almanac, which is scientific-taking into account the constellations as accepted by astronomy, will only consider Chithirai as the beginning of the new year,” Karti had reacted in a tweet on January 14, 2021.
The Congress, the DMK’s poll partner in Tamil Nadu, has not made any comments regarding the matter. “I believe in god, religious practices. Our alliance partner DMK is calling Thai 1 as the Tamil new year. I can’t accept this. We don’t have to accept everything that an alliance party says” Karti Chidambaram was quoted as saying by the Tamil daily newspaper Dinamalar on Tuesday.
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The issue of the DMK and the AIADMK clashing over the date of Tamil new year is not new. In 2008, the DMK had announced that the festival of Pongal would be celebrated as the new year, which was met with a lot of backlash and opposition. However, the order was revoked and Chithirai 1 was restored as the new year by the AIADMK government in 2011.
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