Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Sunday castigated the ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam in Tamil Nadu, saying it was a “hollow shell” controlled by the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.

The Congress leader was addressing a public meeting of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam-led Secular Progressive Alliance in Salem city ahead of the Assembly elections in the state that will be held on April 6.

“This is not the old AIADMK, please do not be confused,” Gandhi said. “This is the AIADMK with a mask on top of it. It looks like the AIADMK. But if you take off the mask, you will find it is not the AIADMK behind the mask, it is the RSS-BJP behind the mask. That old AIADMK is dead...It is now a hollow shell controlled by the RSS and the BJP. The people of Tamil Nadu have to be careful and understand what is behind this mask.”

The former Congress chief alleged that Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami was corrupt, adding that he needs to bow down in front of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the RSS. “Modi controls the Enforcement Directorate, Central Bureau of Investigation and the chief minister of Tamil Nadu,” he alleged.

Gandhi questioned why the chief minister “submitted” to the RSS, Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah when such subservience was against the Tamil culture and tradition. He added that the people of Tamil Nadu had to pay a huge price because of “Palaniswami’s surrender”.

“The BJP, RSS have unlimited money, they will try again and again to destroy our nation,” the Congress leader said. “The only way to stop them is to defeat them in Tamil Nadu and then defeat them in the Centre.”

He added that Tamil Nadu’s biggest strength was small, medium and micro businesses, adding that the state was the manufacturing capital of India. But the Modi government’s demonetisation move and the Goods and Services Tax regime was an attack on Tamil innovation and manufacturing, he said. “Millions of people in this state lost their livelihood, lost their future, lost their jobs because of demonetisation and GST but the chief minister didn’t say one word,” Gandhi said.

Similarly, the Congress leader said that the National Education Policy was designed to harm Tamil interests but Palaniswami did not speak against it.

He said democracy has been destroyed in India and that Modi only wants to help a “few friends” of his. “In the end it is only a matter of money for them,” he continued.

Gandhi should form alliance against BJP at national level: Stalin

Meanwhile, DMK chief MK Stalin said India was “suffocating due to the communal, fascist forces”. He said Gandhi had a big responsibility to protect the India from this.

“Rahul Gandhi should take the responsibility to stitch an alliance against the BJP at the national level,” Stalin said at the mega show of strength in Salem, an AIADMK bastion and the chief minister’s home turf. “The BJP received only 37% vote share during the previous elections. It means 63% people were against BJP and voted for other parties. There has not been a chance for an alliance like that of the one in Tamil Nadu.”

The DMK leader also alleged “cultural attack’’ by imposition of Hindi and Sanskrit, the National Eligibility Cum Entrance Test and filling vacancies in Tamil Nadu by recruiting people belonging to northern states.