Pongal politics: First victory for Sasikala?

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In what could be looked at as a move to pacify Tamil Nadu over its helplessness in Jallikattu issue, the Union government converted Pongal from the list of 'restricted holiday' to 'closed holiday'. The move came after the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Panneerselvam wrote to the Prime Minister asking for Pongal to be declared as compulsory holiday for central government employees in Tamil Nadu. Within 24 hours of the said letter, a corrigendum was issued to all central government employees in Tamil Nadu stating that Pongal had been listed as closed holiday and Dussera had been reassigned as a restricted holiday.

Pongal politics: First victory for Sasikala?

Why the hullabaloo now?

Pongal has been a restricted holiday for well over seven years for central government employees in Tamil Nadu. Politics over holiday for the harvest festival sprang up suddenly due to misinformation and muddled Jallikattu situation. Messages about central government 'cancelling holiday for Pongal' started doing the rounds on social networking and messaging apps. The messages sent not just the people of Tamil Nadu but political leaders into a tizzy as well. A holiday that was deemed restricted for years together suddenly garnered attention with people and parties demanding it to be made a compulsory holiday.

The Tamil Nadu chief minister wrote to the Centre, which was more than willing to appease a state that is being refused to carry out its traditional sport of Jallikattu during Pongal festivities.

AIADMK claims victory to 'Chinamma'

The All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam was very quick to announce that the centre government's move to make Pongal a closed holiday was due to AIADMK's General Secretary Sasikala Natarajan's efforts. The party took to social media to thank 'Chinnamma' for her efforts in ensuring that people of Tamil Nadu got a compulsory holiday for Pongal. The party conveniently sidelined the letter written by CM O Panneerselvam and highlighted Sasikala Natarajan's statement urging the union government to declare Pongal as a compulsory holiday. The AIADMK would like this to be seen as Sasikala's first political victory irrespective of whether she had a role to play in it.

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