Chennai: The opposition AIADMK in Tamil Nadu on Thursday opposed any attempt to change the Tamil New Year from 'Chithirai' (in April) to 'Thai' (January), coinciding with the Pongal festival, saying it went against people's belief.
AIADMK Coordinator O Panneerselvam described such moves as "imposition of opinion".
The former Chief Minister claimed the DMK government's Pongal gift bag, that would carry condiments among others to make the sweet dish, carried greetings for both Pongal and the Tamil New Year.
He recalled the earlier DMK government, under the late M Karunanidhi, had in 2008 changed the Tamil calendar to celebrate the New Year from Chithrai to Thai, and dubbed the legislation for that purpose as "an imposed" one.
"People then said the law amounted to snatching away their rights and questioned its need as it was contrary to the long held practice regarding celebrating the festival," he said in a party statement.
Panneerselvam recalled late Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa had in 2011 reverted the New Year to Chithirai in lines with people's will, even as the DMK's move had no scientific basis as well.
"The 2022 Pongal gift bag carries wishes for the New Year and Pongal which has shocked people. While they expected Rs 2,500 given like last year (in 2021 by the previous AIADMK government) they are anguished by such an empty announcement."
"This is in a way imposition of opinion. People have the right to decide on when and how to celebrate a festival. They believe it is better to leave it to them," Panneerselvam added.
Quoting Socrates, he said "it is better to change the opinion than to persist in a wrong one."
Panneerselvam urged chief minister M K Stalin to "respect people's opinion," and ensure the birth of Chithirai Tamil month continues as the Tamil New Year day and remove the lines purportedly printed on the Pongal gift bags....