Governor RN Ravi, while addressing a gathering of students at an event commemorating the Maruthu Brothers’ death anniversary in Tiruchi, expressed his disappointment over the DMK government’s handling of freedom fighters’ legacies. He highlighted the lack of recognition for these historical figures, emphasising that only 40 freedom fighters were listed when he sought their names. Governor Ravi expressed his concern that leaders who had played pivotal roles in India’s struggle for independence were being reduced to caste leaders in Tamil Nadu. He cited the examples of Mahatma Gandhi, Subash Chandra Bose, Sardar Patel, and Bhagat Singh and questioned whether they, if born in Tamil Nadu, would also face the same fate.
Additionally, Governor Ravi brought up a recent order issued by authorities in Sivaganga wherein they prohibited the people from organising large gatherings. He expressed concern that such orders might stifle large gatherings and gatherings of significance.
“Do you know who the father of the Dravidian theory is? Who proposed it? It was Robert Caldwell who created the hypothesis that Dravidian is a separate race… It was a British design to divide the country, and they recruited collaborators during the freedom movement. Tamil Nadu is a punya bhumi, but how can they face those who observed August 15, 1947, as a black day? While the country and its people were celebrating, they observed it as a day of mourning. That’s why they are deeply averse to discussing the Nationalism movement and Nationalism freedom movement warriors,” Governor Ravi said
TN BJP Chief Annamalai’s support for Governor Ravi’s claims intensifies the ongoing debate surrounding the DMK government’s approach to preserving the legacy of freedom fighters in Tamil Nadu.
DMK Leader’s Rebuttal
DMK’s parliamentary leader, TR Baalu, has strongly refuted the claims made by Tamil Nadu Governor RN Ravi regarding the treatment of freedom fighters by the DMK government. Baalu countered these allegations by highlighting the various memorials and programmes initiated by the State government in honour of freedom fighters. He accused Governor Ravi of “roaming around the state” at the cost of the taxpayer’s money and called on him to stop “betraying the people.”
Baalu went further, asserting that Governor Ravi was adopting the role of the head of the RSS and BJP in Tamil Nadu, propagating their ideologies, and disrupting the workings of the State government. Baalu accused the governor of fanning the flames of caste and religious divisions and went so far as to suggest that Ravi should resign from his position and join a political party to pursue his agenda.
BJP’s TN Chief Annamalai’s Response To Baalu’s statement
In response to DMK MP T R Baalu’s statements, BJP’s K Annamalai entered the fray, insinuating political motivations behind Baalu’s criticism of Governor Ravi. Annamalai alleged that Baalu’s criticism was aimed at securing a ticket to contest in the 2024 elections, implying that his remarks were politically driven.
Annamalai also pointed out that TR Baalu had faced a disproportionate assets case, and during the UPA regime, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh did not appoint him as a cabinet minister due to corruption charges against him.
The exchange of words between the DMK and BJP representatives highlights the ongoing tension and political disagreements in Tamil Nadu’s political landscape.
Annamalai Backs Governor’s Remarks
Tamil Nadu BJP Chief, K Annamalai, expressed his agreement with the recent speech delivered by Governor RN Ravi regarding the recognition of freedom fighters. Annamalai concurred with the Governor’s assertion that many freedom fighters in Tamil Nadu have been reduced to the status of caste leaders, hindering their path to becoming national icons. He criticised DMK’s TR Baalu for his response, implying that Baalu evaded the issue.
Annamalai accused the DMK of showing more interest in promoting contemporary leaders than in honouring the legacy of freedom fighters. He pointed to the state government’s issuance of a white paper regarding the inclusion of freedom fighters’ struggles in school textbooks. Annamalai criticised the heavy security presence during the Guru pooja ceremonies of certain leaders, suggesting that the elevation of these leaders to caste icons has contributed to caste conflicts in southern Tamil Nadu and the proliferation of caste-based political parties.
Annamalai urged Chief Minister Stalin to reconsider the naming of buildings, advocating for the dedication of structures to freedom fighters from different districts. He also advised the state government to pursue an exemption from the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) through legal channels, including approaching the Supreme Court.
Call for Respectful Dialogue
While supporting the Governor’s stance, Annamalai called on DMK leaders to engage in constructive dialogue rather than using disrespectful language. He emphasised that responding with facts and figures would be a more appropriate way to address the issue at hand and criticised TR Baalu’s “disrespectful and insulting” response as being in poor taste.
Tamil Nadu BJP Chief, K Annamalai, has engaged in a political debate with the DMK over its election strategies, particularly the Aryan-Dravidian divide. While the BJP dismisses this theory, Annamalai challenged the DMK to explain its participation in the I.N.D.I. Alliance, which includes constituents from north of the Vindhya Range. The Aryan-Dravidian theory has been a significant part of the political discourse in the state, and Annamalai’s comments underscored the ideological differences between the BJP and the DMK.
Annamalai also addressed the issue of the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) as an election plank. He stated that the BJP was ready to contest the parliamentary election in Tamil Nadu on the NEET issue if the DMK so desired. He criticised the DMK’s initiative to collect 50 lakh signatures against NEET, deeming it irrelevant since the Supreme Court had already provided constitutional approval for the exam. Annamalai urged the DMK government to present data on NEET in the state over the years and base its arguments on the exam’s outcomes.
Promise of a Regional Turmeric Board Office
During a public address in Sivagiri, Erode, as part of his padayatra, Annamalai revealed that the central government is planning to establish a regional office for the National Turmeric Board. He emphasised that PM Narendra Modi had made this commitment during an election campaign in Telangana, and Erode, being the second-largest producer of turmeric in India after Nizamabad in Telangana, would benefit from the regional board office. Annamalai also criticised the DMK for making unfulfilled promises to weavers, particularly the pledge to establish a cooperative bank for them. He contended that the last 30 months of DMK rule had been detrimental to the weaving community, characterising it as an “anti-weaver government.”