Rahul Gandhi To Watch Bull Taming Sport Jallikattu In Tamil Nadu

The party has billed Rahul Gandhi's visit, months before the Tamil Nadu election, as the "Rahulin Tamizh Vanakkam (Rahul's Tamil welcome)".

Rahul Gandhi To Watch Bull Taming Sport Jallikattu In Tamil Nadu

Rahul Gandhi will show his support for farmers by watching Jallikattu organized in Madurai

New Delhi:

Rahul Gandhi will visit Tamil Nadu on Thursday, when the festival of Pongal will be celebrated, and witness the controversial bull taming event ''Jallikattu''.

The Congress leader will show his support for farmers by watching the event organized in Madurai, the party's Tamil Nadu chief KS Alagiri said on Tuesday.

"The bull is a symbol of farmers and part of their lives," he said.

His visit would "honour the farmers and the valorous Tamil culture on the day of the harvest festival, added Mr Alagiri, stressing that the Congress MP would not engage in any election campaign that day.

The Congress was called out on social media for its doublespeak on Jallikattu; the party's manifesto for the 2016 Tamil Nadu election had promised a ban on the annual event if it came to power.

Rahul Gandhi's visit, months before the Tamil Nadu polls, has been billed by the Congress as the "Rahulin Tamizh Vanakkam (Rahul's Tamil welcome)". The state is due for elections in April-May.

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The DMK-Congress alliance swept the 2019 Lok Sabha election in the state, winning 37 of its 38 seats. The allies are hoping for a repeat in the state polls.

Mr Gandhi will land in Madurai and spend four hours in the temple town.

Jallikattu has been controversial because of allegations of animal cruelty. The Supreme Court in 2014 had banned the bull-taming sport following petitions by the Animal Welfare Board of India and the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).

The state government, however, argued that Jallikattu was crucial to Tamil Nadu's culture and identity. The ban was removed in 2017 with an amendment to the law after massive protests in Chennai.

The government has allowed the event this year with restrictions because of the coronavirus. The number of players at any event cannot be more than 150 and participants need a COVID-19 negative certificate. The number of spectators has also been limited to half.