Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) state president K Annamalai yesterday (21 January), alleged that the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) government in Tamil Nadu has been restricting special poojas, annadanams and live screenings of the Ram Mandir inauguration in Ayodhya.
Among Annamalai’s posts were screenshots of what he said were instructions to Superintendents of Police from the Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order) to prevent such events and an audio clip in which a temple official allegedly tells a devotee that he had received ‘oral instructions’ to disallow the programmes.
Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments (HRCE) minister P Sekar Babu, later stated that there were no such restrictions and the government stated the same when the matter came up before the Madras High Court and the Supreme Court today, on 22 January.
Irrespective of whether restrictions were imposed officially or not, the episode will not do any good to the image of the DMK and by extension, the INDI Alliance.
It will further reinforce the anti-Hindu tag associated with the DMK since Udhayanidhi Stalin’s remarks calling for the eradication of Sanatana Dharma.
While the INDI Alliance members then distanced themselves from the remarks or condemned them, the impact was reportedly seen in the results of the recently held Assembly elections.
What also did not help are his recent remarks stating that while the party was not against a temple coming up in Ayodhya, it was against a temple coming up at the site of a demolished mosque, which was seen as an effort at monkey-balancing
This time, even other INDI Alliance members like the Congress and Trinamool are facing criticism for their decision to skip the Ayodhya event. However, neither of them are being accused of imposing restrictions on celebrations and special events related to Ayodhya consecration, in states governed by them.
Thus, the happenings in Tamil Nadu run the risk of getting the whole alliance branded as 'anti-Ram' three months ahead of the general elections.
S Rajesh is Staff Writer at Swarajya.
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