31 July, 2021

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

DMK leader Stalin visits Karunanidhi’s memorial
Tamil Nadu Assembly Elections: The Lord Murugan Factor And How BJP Can Ride

“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...

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