Will Tamil Outreach Continue In Modi 3.0?

S Rajesh

Jun 18, 2024, 04:59 PM | Updated Jun 19, 2024, 11:48 AM IST

PM Modi during one of his visits to Tamil Nadu
PM Modi during one of his visits to Tamil Nadu
  • While Tamil Nadu will remain strong on PM Modi's radar, it won't be the only state drawing his attention in the third term.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his second term, pursued continuous outreach to Tamil Nadu through various means.

    He repeatedly referred to Tamil as the oldest language (much to the unhappiness of those who believe Sanskrit to be older), installed the Sengol in Parliament, quoted couplets from the classic Tamil text Thirukkural frequently, organised the Kashi and Saurashtra Tamil Sangamams, and participated in Tamil New Year celebrations.

    In his latest visit to the state, Modi meditated at the Vivekananda Rock Memorial in Kanniyakumari.

    While the Prime Minister and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have maintained that these outreach initiatives were not carried out with a political motive, politics cannot be completely separated from these actions either.

    And that's why one might wonder whether PM Modi will continue showering the same amount of attention — considered to be a disproportionate amount by some — upon Tamil Nadu despite the kind of results the party has received in the southern state.

    While the BJP fared well and increased its vote share, neither the party nor any of its alliance partners could win a seat.

    Much of the angst about the extra attention on Tamil Nadu comes from states where the party has done better historically, such as, for example, Karnataka, which has been sending a large number of BJP MPs to the Parliament for a long time.

    While nothing can be said with certainty right now, it's safe to say that a sharp focus on one state alone is unlikely this time around.

    On the other hand, the Prime Minister cannot be faulted for focusing especially on Tamil Nadu. Plus, he seems to be doing the same for another state — Punjab.

    This involves pronounced and multiple outreach events to the Sikh community, in particular. PM Modi has been seen wearing the pagdi (turban), cooking for langar (the community kitchen in a gurudwara), and serving food multiple times in the last five years.

    Additionally, the 400th birth anniversary celebrations of Guru Tegh Bahadur were organised in a grand manner at the Red Fort in Delhi.

    Perhaps PM Modi is conducting these outreach efforts because he considers both Tamil Nadu and Punjab to be moving away from the national mainstream.

    While in the case of Tamil Nadu, it would be due to the Dravidian ideology, in the case of Punjab, it would be the spurt in support for Khalistan.

    One other state where PM Modi might be eyeing a more intensive outreach this time around is Kerala.

    The process is underway; he has visited the state multiple times, and in a move seen as strategic before the 2026 assembly election, he has inducted George Kurian, a Christian and a loyal party leader, into his Council of Ministers.

    As for Tamil Nadu, it is likely to continue receiving a lot of attention, even if not as much as earlier. PM Modi has often spoken of his love for Tamil culture, and the BJP seems like it is ready to play the long game.

    S Rajesh is Staff Writer at Swarajya.

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