With less than 6 months to go for the Assembly poll in Tamil Nadu, the BJP has taken to a politico-religious strategy — ‘Vetrivel Yatra’ — hoping it would be a springboard to mobilise support for the party, which otherwise is a minor player in the Dravidian political landscape.
On Friday, a host of BJP leaders including its state unit president L Murugan, were taken into preventive custody by the police when they attempted to take out the month-long yatra from the temple town of Tiruttani. They were let off in the evening. The state government had denied permission for the roadshow saying there could be a second or a third wave of Covid-19.
Unlike the Ram Rath Yatra that helped BJP galvanise its position outside South India, in Tamil Nadu, it has chosen Lord Murugan, the younger brother of Lord Vinayaka, as its political vehicle, for the ‘Vetrivel Yatra’. Lord Murugan, aka Kartikeya in the north, is considered a ‘Tamil God’. The BJP has planned to cover the 6 abodes of Lord Murugan during its journey.
It had latched on to Lord Murugan a few months ago when a little known YouTube channel ‘Karuppar Kootam’ (Black Crowd) criticised the Kanda Sashthi Kavasam, a hymn in praise of the deity. The BJP alleged the members of the Karuppar Kootam were backed by the DMK, a charge denied by the latter.
On Friday, state BJP chief Murugan made no bones of the political agenda behind the rally, which was to “unmask” DMK. He alleged BJP and allies were against Hindus, Hindu Gods and Tamil Gods. “Their only job is to mock the Hindus and our religious beliefs,” he charged.
The party has invited its senior leadership including Union ministers to take part in the rally at the 6 abodes of Lord Murugan. On Friday, Union MoS for Home Kishan Reddy reached Tiruttani. BJP plans to end the yatra at Tiruchendur on December 6.
Left parties and Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi alleged BJP had deliberately chosen December 6, “a day of mourning for the Muslims as Babri was razed on the day”.