Yes, Vel Yatra is politics: BJP leader R Srinivasan

The BJP is preparing for a month-long Vetrivel Yatra in Tamil Nadu starting November 6. The decision has been met with widespread criticism from various quarters.
BJP State general secretary R Srinivasan
BJP State general secretary R Srinivasan

CHENNAI: The State unit of the BJP is all set to commence the month-long Vetrivel Yatra from November 6 invoking Lord Muruga, who is adored as Tamil God despite stiff objections from opposition parties. The Madras High Court is hearing a petition against this Yatra today (Thursday).  However, BJP State president L Murugan said the opposition parties are jittery about the success of this Yatra since it would be a big turning point in Tamil Nadu politics.

In a telephonic interview with TNIE, BJP State general secretary Professor R Srinivasan speaks about the objectives of this Yatra and says this would be the BJP’s response to the ‘Hate Hindu campaign” that has been gaining momentum in Tamil Nadu and it would trigger a debate as the Ram Janma Bhoomi movement did. Here are the excerpts of the interview.

Question: What is the purpose of the Vetrivel Yatra?

Answer: The political narrative of Tamil Nadu has been anti-Hindu for many decades.  Chief Ministers like MG Ramachandran and J Jayalalithaa could contain it.  But after the demise of Jayalalithaa, this
narrative has scaled up manifold.  But the present AIADMK government could not contain this kind of narrative.

The Hate Hindu campaigns have been going on in full swing in Tamil Nadu. The aim of these campaigns is that a Hindu should not be proud of his religion or his cultural roots. There is a global conspiracy behind taking up such a campaign and some forces in India subscribe to it. The last straw of this campaign in Tamil Nadu was the Karuppar Koottam youtube channel which insulted Kanda Shashti. We wish to tell the people about these issues and put a full stop to the Hate Hindu campaign in Tamil Nadu and that is the purpose of this yatra.

Q: There have been objections from political parties and others to this Yatra?

A: The DMK, VCK, Left parties, and NTK have been engaged in this campaign abusing Hindu sentiments and practices since these parties don’t honour the Hindu faith.  We are going to explain this to the people. In post-Independent India, the Ram Janmabhoomi movement was the significant one. Though building the Ram temple was the objective, the movement had triggered an intense debate on topics like Hinduism, appeasement of minorities, etc.  Similarly,  after this Vetrivel Yatra, we expect a big, intense debate in Tamil Nadu on why certain political parties behave in this manner.

Q: Are you aiming at gaining political mileage out of this Yatra as this happens just a few months ahead of the general elections to the Tamil Nadu Assembly?

A: What is wrong with it? We are not a social organisation but a political organisation. So, political mileage is important to us. We are not bribing the voters. We consolidate the people on ideological grounds.

Q: There are umpteen number of day-to-day livelihood issues confronting the people. Instead of fighting for finding solutions to them, why is the BJP engaging in this Yatra?

A: Yes, there are many issues facing the people. But despite that, why s VCK president Thol Thirumavalavan raking up Manusmriti as an issue now? DMK, Left parties and VCK are mixing religion with politics. Since they selectively abuse Hinduism, we are forced to respond to them. These parties did not treat all religions equally.

Q: Is this Yatra necessary now at a time when the State is still under the grip of the Corona threat?

A: All political activities are going on as usual.  Why are you singling out the BJP on this? We will adhere to the Corona prevention guidelines.

Q: What would the BJP do if the Court or the State government disallows this Yatra?

A: We will abide by the court verdict.  But remember veteran leader LK Advani’s Rath Yatra created a huge impact when efforts were taken to stall it. Similarly, if the Vetrivel Yatra is stalled, we will take
our message to the people more loudly through our propaganda machinery.

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