Five reasons why BJP is unpopular in Tamil Nadu
Hindutva repulses a majority of Tamils.
On January 27, when Prime Minister Modi visited Tamil Nadu, social media was flooded with tweets with hashtags #GoBackModi and #GoBackSadistModi trending. So, why do people in Tamil Nadu resent Modi, or rather BJP? Here are the top five reasons.
1. Hindi and Hindutva imposition
Compulsory Hindi is a big no for Tamil Nadu. Tamilians love their language and see imposition of Hindi as a threat to Tamil Identity. From 1965, when the anti-Hindi agitation was at its peak, the people have shown their displeasure to attempts to impose Hindi. Right now, BJP is seen as the national party that pushes the Hindi agenda. Apart from Hindi, Hindutva repulses a majority of Tamilians who abide by a secular Dravidian ideology. A majority of the state is also non-vegetarian so issues like the beef ban have not gone down well.
2. Regional Leaders
The state leadership of the BJP has nobody of any stature. State president Tamilisai Soundararajan and national secretary H Raja are not well liked. Known for making controversial comments, they are more the favourites of Tamil meme creators. Tamilians don’t really care about who is at the Centre. That is one reason why the ‘Modi Magic’ will never work in Tamil Nadu.
3. Tamil Nadu’s poor treatment by NDA government
On a number of issues, the NDA government has not been in favour of the state.
To list a few,
- Cauvery river water issue
- Jallikattu ban in 2016
- Attack on Tamil fishermen by Sri Lankan Navy
Especially on the Cauvery issue, the NDA government, with elections nearing in Karnataka, quite openly went against Tamil Nadu.
4. BJP’s attack on coalition politics
Compared to Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s era, the BJP-led government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi is seen to be asserting itself more aggressively in a coalition, attacking state autonomy and freedom.
However, the ruling AIADMK under Edappadi Palaniswamy, has increasingly shown support of whatever stand the Centre takes. With rumours floating about the possible alliance between the BJP and AIADMK, Tamilians are against BJP more than ever for interfering in state politics.
5. BJP’s image as being a supporter of big corporations
There is a general perception that the BJP is backing big corporations. With the implementation of demonetisation and Goods and Services Tax, and the corresponding hardships caused to the common man, BJP was seen as the ‘villain’ favouring big companies. This was further cemented during the Sterlite protests. Police action on protestors demanding the closure of the Sterlite Copper Plant due to pollution, owned by the Vedanta group, left 13 people dead. Both the state government and the Centre were blamed for this. Though the Sterlite plant was eventually shut down, no strict action was taken. Moreover, the National Green Tribunal and the Supreme Court paved the way for reopening of the plant, despite continued protests.