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Wednesday, Oct 27, 2021
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Tamil Nadu Assembly Elections: The Lord Murugan Factor And How BJP Can Ride

DMK seeks to shed its ‘anti-Hindu’ image after an allegedly ­offensive video about a Tamil deity puts it on the backfoot

Tamil Nadu Assembly Elections: The Lord Murugan Factor And How BJP Can Ride
Legacy |
Tamil Nadu Assembly Elections: The Lord Murugan Factor And How BJP Can Ride
outlookindia.com
2020-08-01T12:17:30+05:30

“The majority of OBCs in Tamil Nadu are Hindus and the DMK helped bring 65.5 per cent reservation for them, which helped the community produce doctors, engineers and graduates,” DMK leader M.K. Stalin claimed recently. Such an assertion from Tamil Nadu’s oldest Dravidian party represents a significant departure from its past, when it had fought shy of showing the Hindu card. Steeped in the anti-god, anti-Brahmin and anti-Hindu philosophy of its ideological fountainhead Periyar and piloted for long by the Hindu-bashing M. Karunanidhi, the DMK endured a rough ride with the state’s Hindu majority. The party could remain one of the top two contenders thanks to its devoted vote bank and the absence of Hindu consolidation. It took full advantage of Hindus voting more on caste lines, and by swinging Muslims, Christians and a section of Dalits.

Until now the party rarely viewed the OBCs—nearly 70 per cent of the state’s population and a substantial chunk of the DMK’s vote bank—through the Hindu prism. For the DMK, they were Tamils who were not Dalit, Muslim, Christian or from the privileged castes. So what compelled Stalin to revisit the Hindu roots of the OBCs? Hindu outrage against a rationalist group’s video about Kanda Sashti Kavasam, a Tamil religious song on Lord Murugan, was astutely redirected towards the DMK and its ideological cohorts by the BJP-led Hindu right, who called the video a culmination of the persistent “anti-­Hindu tirade” by the DMK and its allies like the Dravidar Kazhagam, the Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi, the Left and some fringe Tamil groups. On social media, the blame was squarely laid at the DMK’s doors by digging up its past support for such rationalist groups. The party quickly distanced itself from the group and even reminded Tamils that it had one crore...

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