It is always an honour and a pleasure for me to come to Tamil Nadu. You know my relationship with the people of Tamil Nadu. It gives me tremendous joy to come to this wonderful state and today, coming here to the southernmost tip of our country and looking out here into the beautiful sea, it gives me great joy to be beginning this ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ from this beautiful place. Why is it that after so many years after independence, we are feeling the need and not just the Congress Party, but millions and millions of Indian people are feeling the need of a ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’. What is happening in the country that so many people, millions and millions of people feel that there is a need to take an action that brings India together.
We can see here the Indian flag fluttering in the wind and all of us look up to this flag and salute this flag. Some people, they look at the flag and they see three colours, a chakra, a piece of cloth and they salute the flag. But, this is not just three colours, a chakra and a piece of cloth. This is much more than that and this flag, this did not come easily. It was not given to us, it was not a gift, it was earned by the Indian people. This flag represents every single person who lives in this country. This flag represents the religion of every single person who lives in this country. This flag represents the language of every single person who lives in this country. This flag represents every single state of our country. This flag was not earned by one person. It was earned by every single Indian person. This flag does not belong to any state, it belongs to every single state. It does not belong to any religion, any community, any language, it belongs to every religion, every community, and every language.
So, embedded in this flag is our identity; Not only our identity as a nation, not only our identity as states, but, our identity as every single Indian person. This flag guarantees every single Indian person protection in this country. It guarantees every single person a free and fair life in this country. It guarantees everybody the right to practise any religion, speak any language they desire and today, brothers and sisters, this flag is under attack. India is not the imposition of one idea on its people. India is the history, the language, the culture of every single person.
India is the institution that protects this flag. India is a free media that protects this flag. India is a judiciary that protects this flag. And today every single one of our institutions is under attack by the BJP and the RSS. They think that this flag is their personal property. They think, they can determine single-handedly, the future of the people of this country, the future of all the states of this country. They think, they can frighten the opposition using ED, CBI and Income Tax. The problem is that they do not understand the Indian people. Indian people do not get scared. It does not matter how many hours of interrogation they do, it does not matter. Not a single opposition leader is going to be scared of the BJP. The BJP thinks that they can divide this country along religious lines, they can divide this country along its languages. This country cannot be divided. This country will always remain united.
Today, India faces its worst ever economic crisis, the highest level of unemployment that we have ever seen and the country is heading into a disaster. Unfortunately, our friends in the media are fully controlled. Everybody understands it, but, on the TV you will never see unemployment, you will never see price rise, you will only see the image of the Prime Minister.
The BJP government has systematically attacked the farmers, the labourers, and the small and medium business of this country. A handful of large businesses control the entire country today. Ports, air ports, coal, power, telecoms, every single industry is controlled by a handful of businesses.
The Prime Minister would not last one day without their support. They control the media, and they ensure that the Prime Minister is on the TV screens 24 hours a day. And in exchange, the Prime Minister carries out policies that are in their interest- demonetization, a flawed GST, the three anti-farmer laws- these are all designed to help the same few businesses. The idea is very similar to what the British used to do ‘Divide India, make Indians fight with each other and steal from the Indian people.’ Those days, it used to be called the East India Company. It was the one big company that controlled the all of India. Today, there are 3-4 big companies that control the India and policies like Demonetization, GST, the three farm laws. These are designed to take away from the future of India, to take away from the poor people of India.
Jobs are created by small and medium businesses, jobs are created by our farmers and today, small and medium businesses have been crippled by BJPs policies. Farmers are barely surviving. So, the result is- it is impossible for India to create jobs for its youngsters and while our youngsters cannot earn, the prices keep going up and so we are heading into bad time and it is very important that we bring the people of India together, to make sure that they are united so that India is strong and that is the aim of the ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’.
The ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ is designed to listen to the people of India. We do not want to crush the voice of the people of India like the RSS and the BJP do. We want to listen to the wisdom of the people of India.
It is once again an honour for me to come here and speak to you. It is always a pleasure for me to come to this wonderful state and I would like to conclude by thanking my brother, Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu Stalin Ji, for coming here and meeting me, this evening. I look forward to meeting many of you on the Yatra in the coming days and please remember, it is not enough to just salute the flag, it is important to defend the ideas and the values behind the flag. Thank you very much.