During his one-day trip to Tamil Nadu and Kerala on January 27, Narendra Modi’s chosen medium of expression at two public meetings was English. It was a departure from the past when the BJP strongman had preferred to address the mostly non-Hindi-speaking crowd in Hindi, with an interpreter feeding them the translation in the local language. It has probably dawned on the BJP that in the land that had spawned the anti-Hindi agitation in the 1960s, it was time to bridge the language gap. The realisation might have come a bit late, though, as the Tamil psyche had been laced with shrill anti-BJP propaganda not just by the DMK and its allies, but also half-a-dozen fringe organisations and most Tamil news channels during the past four years.
The principal aim of the anti-BJP narrative was to play on the insecurities of the Tamils that they could be subsumed by the culture and language of North India if the BJP was given even a toehold in the state. In the process, it made the BJP a political untouchable. With the present AIADMK government seen as a handmaiden of the powerful Modi sarkar at the Centre, the picture of the BJP as a big bully from up north was complete. Yet PM Narendra Modi has not given up trying to woo the Tamil voters.