In the last week Cabinet reshuffle, Tamil Nadu (TN) BJP President L. Murugan was nominated in the Union Minister. After that Union government published his profile that he hails from Kongu Nadu in Tamil Nadu. Then, TN BJP State Secretary Karu. Nagarajan stated something similar that they may demand a Kongu Nadu separate state.
Slowly the discussion on this subject started in TN. A daily magazine Dinamalar, well known for its pro-BJP, pro-Brahminical stand published its first-page news as ‘Kongu Nadu in Making’ which triggered furious response from all political parties cutting across ideologies. Amidst these outrages, the BJP party wing of Coimbatore North passed a resolution demanding a separate state for Kongu Naadu.
All mainstream political parties and movements like DMK, AIDMK, Congress, CPI, CPI(M), Viduthalai Siruthaigal, Thamizahga Vazvurimai Katchi, Manithaneya Makkal Katchi condemned the daily magazine for its ‘Kongu Naadu’ news. Organizations from various streams like Periyarist, Ambedkarite, Marxist Leninist, Tamil Nationalist, religious minorities also condemned Dinamalar magazine for the same.
Kongu Nadu: An attempt to deviate people’s anger
By raising these sorts of disgusting ideas, BJP is attempting to deviate people’s anger towards the failures of the Union Govt on multiple fronts. Various political parties warned the BJP that if it repeats this sort of disgusting act, that would be nothing but like holding the tail of a tiger and annoying a sleeping tiger.
After all these events, the Spokesperson of BJP’s TN unit A N S Prasad said that BJP’s stand is not for bifurcating Tamil Nadu nor for creating Kongu Nadu (western belt) and the party’s aim is to create a prosperous Tamil Nadu and a strong Bharat.
As soon as DMK was sworn in, it asserted that we would henceforth stick on to the term ‘Union’ Government instead of ‘Central’ Government while addressing the Indian Government. Among TN political circles, the usage of the term Union Government increased drastically as an expression against Delhi’s power concentration and as an expression reminding the need for state autonomy and federalism in India.
Sanghis on social media have been writing that as a response to the ‘Union’ noises by DMK, Modi Govt has started thinking about the formation of Kongu Nadu separate state and they will continue raising Kongu Nadu slogan until DMK stops using the term ‘Union Government’. BJP is viciously portraying that DMK spells this term ‘Union Government’ with an intention of secession of TN from India. But, the real intention of BJP is to justify the centralization of power in Delhi and forcing the people to accept this centralization without questioning.
With the same intention of weakening the linguistic states, BJP, all along with its history, has been supporting the separate state demands and raising such new demands artificially.
Among the districts which are industrialized in TN, Coimbatore and Tiruppur are significant ones. It is claimed that these districts contribute to some 50% of TN’s GDP. So, there is no basis for the question of lack of development and discrimination towards these districts. But, due to the industrial development in this region, several socio-economic contradictions prevail there.
BJP used these contradictions to bring in Hindu-Muslim violence and changed Coimbatore into a riot place. BJP was able to develop a social base in these regions because of its divisive, communal politics here. But, neither it could expand not retain its social base here as all sections of the society including entrepreneurs, out of their lived experience, want to maintain a peaceful social condition which is significantly needed for industrial development.
Whereas BJP aims to gain the attention of people in that region by projecting it as exclusively caring for the development of the region and raising something which is not the demand of the masses. We could very well understand the BJP’s caste and region-wise calculations by looking through its nominations like L.Murugan from Arunthathiyar caste background as party’s state president and then as Union Minister and Annamalai from Goundar caste background as the current party’s state president. So, BJP’s immediate objective in raising this Kongu Nadu separate state demand is to build their party in that region.
Previous demands for separate states
The demands of separate states such as Kongu Nadu, Senthamizh Nadu, and North Tamil Nadu had been raised in the past too by the parties having their base from dominant castes, which are the majority in numbers in those regions. The demand for separate states based on caste and regionalism would rise now and then and very shortly.
The demand of Senthamizh Nadu separate state centered around Madurai with Devar caste base was raised by Dr. Sethuraman, founder of Mooventhar Munnetra Kazhagam. The demand of Kongu Nadu separate state centered around Coimbatore with Kongu Vellalar Gounder caste base was raised by “Best” S. Ramasamy, founder of KonguNadu Munnetra Kazhagam. The demand of North Tamil Nadu separate state centered around Chennai with Vannniyar caste base was raised by Dr. Ramadoss, founder of Pattali Makkal Katchi.
They raised this demand with the hope that their party could come to power, get more seats for assembly, parliament and get crowned as Chief Minister in that newly formed State by attracting the vote bank of the castes which are the majority in those regions. Contrary to their expectations, those caste parties were not able to even build a small amount of solidarity among the castes for which they proclaim themselves as representatives.
BJP aims at weakening linguistic nationalism and autonomy
Whereas the context of BJP raising the demand for a separate state now is altogether different from that of the above scenario. BJP’s consistent policy in this subject is that it has been against the formation of linguistic states from the beginning and it visualises India as a union of 200 administrative units called Janpaths which should be ruled from a Unitary Delhi.
Based on this principle, BJP’s demand for the formation of Kongu Nadu from Tamil Nadu is aimed at weakening the linguistic nationalism, autonomy by dividing the homeland of Tamils which is the basis for the former and thereby attempting to collapse the prevailing spirit of TN nationalism and the demand on state rights. For the sake of Unitary Hindu Rashtra, BJP is in fact experimenting with the “divide and rule” tactics far worse than our British colonial rulers.
Translated into English by Senthil