The 2021 Assembly poll campaign scene throws up intriguing incidents. There are reports that candidates were prevented from entering certain predominantly Muslim areas/localities. A couple of fundamentalists in the Jamaat issue directive to the whole community and stop candidates entering into the area for canvassing. They do not represent the whole community. The Representation of the Peoples Act allows a level playing ground for all candidates and no one should be stopped from peaceful campaigning. So-called secular parties, including national parties Congress and Lefts, also support such fringe groups. The administration turns a blind eye to this. Two such incidents were tactfully handled in the last couple of days by the candidates belong to BJP and AIADMK. The local media that “sensationalise” the act of fringe groups never covered this, the way it deserved.
Young IPS officer turned politician BJP state vice president and Aravakurichi (Karur Distt) candidate, Annamalai questioned and reiterated his right to canvas anywhere in the constituency, when BJP was not allowed in Pallappatti village in the constituency. He said Pallappatti is very much in India; I and my party have every right to canvas there. A couple of Mullahs in the Jamaat have no authority and they do not represent the community. I am well versed with the Quran, aware of Islamic history from the “Prophet” time 786 AD. I challenge any one for open face to face debate at their convenient date, time and venue. Only under Modi govt. the community had a full allocation of funds in general and maximum scholarship to students. This Govt only banned Triple Talaq. He said his interaction with Muslim sisters of the constituency revealed that they are very happy. He said this only has made the Jamaat furious. He further said he would lead the campaign into Pallappatti. He dared anyone to stop it. This unnerved the Jamaat; it reversed its directive the next day.
The AIADMK candidate Padmanabhan, contesting in Tiruchirappalli West constituency, was blocked entry into a Muslim majority area on March 20 in Uraiyur in the town. Few Muslim activists raised slogans and acted violently leading to a skirmish. TN minister Valarmathi sat in a dharna and road block. The police stepped in, removed the blocking mob and saw to it that the candidate and his supporters carried on their campaign.
These incidents show the trend in the state that minorities no longer have free run like earlier. Their intransigence against peaceful/rightful electioneering, though not restrained by the authorities, will be countered peacefully and effectively.