Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Sunday took on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, accusing him and his government of insulting Tamil language and culture, reported NDTV. Gandhi said that Modi was “crippling people of the state” with policies like demonetisation and the Goods and Services Taxes regime.

The former Congress president was addressing a rally in Tamil Nadu’s Erode district ahead of the Assembly elections in the state, which is likely to take place between April and May. This is his second visit to the state in a month.

“The Centre has no respect for Tamil language and Tamil culture,” Gandhi said. “I am not going to allow Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP to disrespect Tamil people...The country is in the hands of five or six business people [and] they think that if they control the state government, they can control the Tamil people. But this is not true.”

Gandhi added that the Centre’s destructive policies had wiped off the state’s economy. “Tamil Nadu used to be a manufacturing centre, an industrial centre, and that strength has been eliminated by the policies of Narendra Modi,” he added, according to the Hindustan Times.

The Congress leader said that he had familial ties with Tamil Nadu, adding that he was indebted to the people of the state for maintaining a loving relationship with his grandmother Indira Gandhi and father Rajiv Gandhi. “I know of your respect for my grandmother and father,” Gandhi added. “I’ve come to listen and understand your problems and to rectify them. I understand and respect Tamil culture.”

“Tamil Nadu requires a new government,’ Gandhi said. “That is why we want to work with you to get a government that you would be proud of.”

Also read:

TN polls: Rahul Gandhi launches Congress campaign, says Modi doesn’t respect state language, culture