The AIADMK has criticised ally BJP for using a photograph of M G Ramachandran (MGR), AIADMK founder and actor, in a video to promote its “Vel Yatra”. “Don’t they have a leader of their own,” asked senior AIADMK minister D Jayakumar, adding that no other party has the “moral right to use MGR’s image”.
The three-minute music video, released by the state BJP unit’s cultural wing last week, shows a photograph of MGR, while the Tamil lyrics refer to Prime Minister Narendra Modi as a “hamsam” (denoting messenger) of “Ponmanachemmal”, a name popularly used to refer to MGR in political rallies and party literature.
The “Vel Yatra”, celebrating Lord Muruga, is being seen as an attempt to consolidate Hindu votes in the state, especially among Muruga devotees who are largely from backward communities. Beginning from November 6, state BJP chief L Murugan will lead the month-long programme to visit prominent Muruga temples in the state. BJP president J P Nadda is expected to visit the state as part of the programme.
“Don’t they have a leader of their own? Why do they use our leader’s picture? MGR is our leader, who founded the party and who wished the victory of AIADMK in the state. No other party has the moral right to use his image,” said Jayakumar, who is often deputed as the spokesperson of the party and state cabinet.
Murugan was not available for comment on Tuesday. However, responding to questions on using MGR’s photograph, he had said earlier that Modi follows the path of MGR and works for the people.
A senior BJP leader said there was nothing wrong in using MGR’s photograph, adding that his was a life that could not be confined to a political party.
Meanwhile, the Opposition, including Dalit party VCK leader Thol Thirumavalavan and Left parties, has accused the BJP of trying to instigate communal tension in the state through its “Vel Yatra”. While the police have denied permission for political meetings during the rally, senior officials said they cannot deny permission for a few vehicles to visit some temples.
Countering the criticism, Murugan, the state BJP chief, has said: “The Opposition is repeating the word communal riots. Do they have plans to orchestrate communal issues during our yatra?”
Jayakumar has warned against any attempt to “trigger communal tension”. “This state remains a heaven of peace. Any attempt, by any party, to disrupt the peace or trigger communal tension will be dealt with with an iron fist,” he said.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines