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TN CM writes to PM, says Pongal should be ‘compulsory holiday’, Thiruvalluvar day ‘optional’

A day after several political parties and groups in Tamil Nadu took exception to Pongal being a ‘restricted’ holiday and not ‘compulsory’ for Central government employees as in the previous year, Tamil Nadu CM O Panneerselvam has now written to PM Narendra Modi asking that the holiday be made compulsory, and employees in TN be given the option to take leave on Thiruvalluvar day.

Explaining that Pongal is the main harvest festival of Tamil Nadu celebrated with “great zest and enthusiasm by all sections of people, and a social festival that transcends all religions”, he said that Pongal finding a place only in the list of 12 optional holidays is a “diminution in the importance accorded to Pongal”.

He added that it has “created disquiet and an impression that an important people’s festival of Tamil Nadu has been ignored by the Central Government.”

“Therefore, to meet the legitimate aspirations of the people of Tamil Nadu, I request that Pongal be included in the list of Compulsory Holidays to be observed by all Central Government Administrative offices in Tamil Nadu,” he said.

He further asked that just as the Government of India’s Circular relating to the list of 12 optional holidays from which three are to be selected includes an ‘Additional day for Dusshera’, an ‘Additional day for Pongal’ may also be included in the list of optional holidays.

“This will ensure that Thiruvalluvar day could also be declared as a holiday by the Central Government Employees Welfare Co-ordination Committee of Tamil Nadu,” he said.

Earlier, AIADMK general secretary VK Sasikala had said, “I’m shocked over turning Pongal into a restricted holiday by removing it from the list of compulsory holidays. It is very essential to announce Pongal days as holiday irrespective of the day (Saturday) on which it falls. Taking into view the rights and sentiments of Tamils, the Centre must declare Pongal day as holiday.”

DMK working president MK Stalin said, “It raises a big question over the secular ethos with the Centre already attempting to impose Hindi and Sanskrit on the mother tongues of all the states, from Kashmir to Tamil Nadu and by trying to drive communal principles through the New Education Policy. This decision is nothing but a culmination of this.”

Source: The News Minute