DMK vs BJP over 'Kongu Nadu'

The controversy seems to have erupted after BJP leader L Murugan was sworn in as Minister of State for Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairies.

Some mischief-makers working within the power corridors of New Delhi set the Tamil Nadu Twitter sphere on fire early this week. In some of the official announcements, they had chosen to call 'Kongu Naadu' instead of the name of the district or town from which L Murugan, the newly-anointed Minister of State, comes from.


Adding fuel to the flame, Coimbatore South MLA and Bharatiya Janata Party leader Vanathi Srinivasan shared a picture of a local newspaper with the headline “Tamil Nadu to be divided, Kongu Nadu to be created”, with a detailed article filled with unsubstantiated claims accompanying it.


Interestingly, the controversy seems to have erupted after BJP leader L Murugan was sworn in as Minister of State for Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairies. Moments after the announcement, a brief profile of L Murugan went viral, in which it was mentioned that he hailed from 'Kongu Nadu', instead of Namakkal, his hometown in Tamil Nadu.


As twitterati got #Kongunadu trending nationally, protests also erupted in Coimbatore, where copies of the local newspaper which published the “Tamil Nadu to be divided” article was burnt by pro-Tamil groups.


Reacting to the controversy spreading all over the social media, DMK leader Kanimozhi dismissed the claims of bifurcation and said Tamil Nadu cannot be divided.


"Tamil Nadu can't be divided be anyone, no one can even dream of such a thing, don't worry. The Constitution itself calls it the Union government,” she said.


Meanwhile, Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader G Balakrishnan condemned the notion of bifurcation of the state as “absurd” and alleged that the controversy was being stoked by the BJP.


However, state BJP leaders have not directly extended their support to bifurcation, but one saffron party leader (Karu Nagarajan) hinted that the move should be considered if it’s the mandate of the people.


On the other hand, the DMK government had made it very clear that it will only continue to address the Centre as the Union government. Chief Minister MK Stalin had announced the decision in the State Assembly.


For the unversed, Kongu Nadu is the name by which the western districts of Tamil Nadu go by. These districts have a distinct identity within the broader Tamil socio-cultural landscape just as other regions of ancient Tamil ‘country’ have. The name itself has largely been used only in a cultural context except when fringe players use it to demand a new state.

 

Sakchi Khandelwal

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