×
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

DMK leaders’ statements put Congress, I.N.D.I.A. in a spot

While there is no visible friction between the leaders of the Opposition alliance on remarks made by DMK leaders, there is disquiet in the camp as parties like Congress and RJD feel they are being put on the defensive mode by the BJP over such statements, some of which are made for and before the local audience in Tamil Nadu.
Last Updated 26 December 2023, 18:15 IST

Chennai: Tamil Nadu Minister Udhayanidhi Stalin’s Sanatana Dharma row, DMK MP S Senthil Kumar’s ‘gaumutra states’ remark, and an old speech made by Dayanidhi Maran on people from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh have become a cause of embarrassment for leaders of I.N.D.I.A. alliance, especially the Congress, as the BJP utilizes these remarks to target them.

While there is no visible friction between the leaders of the Opposition alliance on remarks made by DMK leaders, there is disquiet in the camp as parties like Congress and RJD feel they are being put on the defensive mode by the BJP over such statements, some of which are made for and before the local audience in Tamil Nadu.

“The statements by Udhay and Maran were made in the local context. We had to defend Udhay’s statement because it was in line with the party’s long-held ideology of opposing Sanatana Dharma. The words used by Maran in his speech may be wrong, but one has to see the context. Maran was speaking about the imposition of Hindi,” a DMK leader told DH.

But the leader admitted that Senthil Kumar calling northern Indian states as “gaumutra states” was indeed “foolish.” “That is why the MP was asked to apologise unconditionally. It is not that these statements are being made intentionally, but action is taken when the situation warrants it. We have to cater to our core vote bank and local audience too,” he added.

Another leader said the Congress has not taken up the issue of leaders making such statements “formally” but there is a sense within the party that leaders should exercise greater restraint while making comments, which could be welcomed in the state but deemed as controversial in other parts of the country.

“The comments by Udhayanidhi didn’t come under intense scrutiny in Tamil Nadu except for those from the BJP because opposing Sanatana Dharma has been part of the political discourse in the state. Maran’s comments made in 2019 have now resurfaced. Maybe, we should be careful at least till 2024,” the second leader added.

Maran only adds to the list of DMK leaders who have made fun of north Indian migrants in the garb of busting the “myth” propagated by the BJP that learning Hindi will help get jobs – another senior leader K Ponmudy had called people from the region as “pani puri sellers.”

While Congress did distance itself from the statements, the party still came in the BJP’s line of fire as the saffron party now makes a concerted effort to term the opposition parties as “anti-Hindu” and “anti-north India.”

Congress leaders told DH that DMK leaders should realise that the “real fight” with the BJP was in north India and not in the Southern part and refrain from making such statements that could strengthen its campaign on social media platforms and personal messaging apps like WhatsApp.

“Such statements by the DMK leaders are not just an embarrassment to us but pose a serious problem. If such statements are continued to be made, the BJP’s narrative of all opposition being anti-Hindu and anti-North India will only get strengthened. These videos are circulated widely with Hindi subtitles on WhatsApp,” a senior Congress leader said.

While BJP leaders may not talk about such controversial statements in their speeches, they are circulated silently to people and posted on social media platforms.

“Everyone should realise that it is the Congress that has to fight the BJP in north India. Besides countering Hindutva, we are now being made to explain such statements. And going on the defensive doesn’t add to the perception especially during an election. It is better that such statements aren't made in the first place” another Congress leader said.

ADVERTISEMENT
(Published 26 December 2023, 18:15 IST)

Follow us on

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT