Former Union Minister and TNCC president K.V. Thangkabalu has gold in his name. Now he has proved he can be silver-tongued too—in a funny way. The Congress leader quickly emerged as the troll of the week after a string of gaffes when he translated Rahul Gandhi’s English speech at Nagercoil on March 14. Here are a few nuggets:
Rahul: That is precisely why we love the people of Tamil Nadu (for resisting the imposition of a single culture by the BJP).
Balu: That is why we are fighting for it. We will show our strength at the right time.
Rahul: That is why we respect the people of Tamil Nadu.
Balu: Narendra Modi is the enemy of Tamil Nadu
And when Rahul Gandhi talked about Karunanidhi as a great leader, Thangkabalu translated it as Kamaraj. When Rahul, as an afterthought, added Kamaraj, Balu replied nonchalantly, “I’ve already translated sir.”
Rahul too did not help by trying to interpret the Tamil equivalent of ‘Truth will Triumph’. “Unmai Jellum,” Rahul declared, and as Balu struggled to interpret that, Rahul repeated it—only for the former-MP to blurt out, “He (Modi) will go to jail!”
Leaders of the Congress, DMK and other alliance parties could be seen squirming even as the crowd was bemused. By evening, social media was awash with memes ridiculing Thangkabalu’s efforts. The ex-minister later broke his silence, claiming he had successfully translated 90 per cent of Rahul’s speech. “I had difficulty only with a few sentences due to the echo from the speaker, made worse by gusts of wind on the stage,” he told a Tamil news channel.