This comes in the wake of political parties hitting out at the reported change in holiday for the festival. "Pongal (January 14) previously declared as restricted holiday is now changed as closed holiday. The additional holiday for Dussehra (September 28) previously declared as closed holiday is now changed as a restricted holiday," said a brief order. DMK, the main opposition, which had announced agitation against the BJP government at the Centre, withdrew the programme after the committee's decision.
Hours earlier, TN chief minister O Panneerselvam urged PM Narendra Modi to include Pongal in the list of compulsory holidays. BJP, however, alleged efforts were being made to made paint its government at the Centre as "anti-Tamil" by digging out an old order. BJP state unit president Tamilisai Soundararajan said Pongal had remained in the 'special list' for 15 years, including the UPA days in which DMK was a key constituent. Since Pongal falls on Saturday this year, there is no possibility of giving a holiday and central government employees have been allowed to avail this leave on a different date for a different festival, she said.