How the BJP is playing the MGR card to make inroads in Tamil Nadu

New Delhi, Nov 21 (IANS)
MG Ramachandran aka MGR is considered to be an icon of state politics and cinema in Tamil Nadu. The same MGR founded the ruling AIADMK in Tamil Nadu about 48 years ago. Now the BJP is looking to emotionally connect with the people of the state by cashing in the popularity of the icon.
The BJP has played the ‘MGR card’ for the second time in Tamil Nadu in a month. Home Minister Amit Shah paid floral tributes to the photograph of the former chief Minister in Chennai during his visit to Tamil Nadu on Saturday. Earlier, the BJP had used photographs of the great Tamil cinema actor and former chief minister during the Vetri Vel Yatra in the state on November 6.
Terming MGR as a great leader, Home Minister Amit Shah said that his contribution to the development of Tamil Nadu can never be forgotten. It is believed that the BJP is trying to connect with the people of the state by according due respect and attention to MGR, who has been perceived as an icon of Tamil pride over the years.
The BJP has been in a coalition with the ruling AIADMK in Tamil Nadu since the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. The party is also likely to continue with the AIADMK alliance in the forthcoming assembly elections next year.
However, the BJP is trying to expand the party on its own in the state. The party is in constant action mode. From November 6, the BJP’s Tamil Nadu unit had taken out a yatra under a one-month outreach programme.
Even AIADMK leaders expressed displeasure over the use of MGR’s photographs by the the BJP. They believed that the BJP was cashing in on the popularity of their home-grown icon for its own benefit.
The buzz in Chennai’s political corridors is that Home Minister Amit Shah has sent out a big political message to the state on Saturday by praising AIADMK founder and former chief minister MGR and Jayalalithaa during his visit to Chennai.
A BJP national functionary who monitors the politics of Tamil Nadu told IANS, “Every state has some icons and personalities closely connected to the people. MGR is such an entity. If the BJP is giving him respect, what is the harm? As the party is currently aligned with the AIADMK in the state, it should not be seen in other sense to honour the party’s founder.”
Besides being an actor and successful politician, M.G. Ramachandran is also considered as the cultural icon of Tamil Nadu. After ruling Tamil cinema for more than 30 years, MGR forayed into politics and reached the chief Minister’s chair.
He became the first Tamil film actor to become chief minister by contesting the election. As chief minister, MGR launched the ‘ Poshan Mid-day meal scheme ‘, which made it possible for the children of government schools to get food. Through many such schemes, he created a place in the hearts of the poor and the needy.
And the BJP wants to capitalise on his appeal to find a foothold in the state.

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