The Tamil Nadu unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has taken up the issue of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) government banning the installation of Ganesh idols in public places as part of the Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations and their immersion in water bodies.
While the Tamil Nadu government had restricted the Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations to only within homes, Tamil Nadu-based organisation Hindu Munnani had installed Ganesh idols at public places across the state defying the government's order.
In several places, there were clashes between the police and the protesting Hindu Munnani and BJP workers. The BJP sees this issue as an opportunity to corner the DMK government.
BJP Karur unit President, Sivaswamy has urged the DMK government and particularly Chief Minister M.K. Stalin to take immediate action against Inspector Senthoor Pandyan of Karur police station for damaging the Ganesh idols installed by the Hindu Munnani activists on Friday.
Both the BJP and the Hindu Munnani held protest marches in Karur and adjoining areas against the state government for banning Ganesh Chaturthi as well as allowing the police to damage the Ganesh idols.
BJP leader Sivaswamy told IANS, "This is real vandalism on part of the police and Karur police station Inspector Senthoor Pandiyan by damaging the Ganesh idols and hurting the sentiments of the Hindu community. We will continue the protests until the state government takes action against him."
The BJP and Hindu Munnani took out protest marches in Coimbatore, Chennai, Erode and Madurai after the police stopped the Hindu Munnani activists from installing Ganesh idols on roads. The idols will be immersed on Sunday and this again could lead to confrontation with the police.
Meanwhile, the DMK has reacted, saying the party and the government have not hurt the sentiments of the Hindus and that it was not against Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations.
DMK leader and Tamil Nadu Water Resources Minister, S. Duraimurugan told IANS, "The DMK as such is not against the Ganesh Chaturthi festival. The state government has banned installation of idols on the roadside following a circular from the Union Home Secretary to ban religious festivals in public places due to the Covid-19 pandemic."
However, both the BJP and the Hindu Munnani will raise this as a major political issue in the state to gain political mileage. The BJP has of late suffered a major image crisis following the sleaze video leak of party leader K.T. Raghavan, who stepped down after it turned into a major controversy. With the Ganesh Chaturthi festival issue, the BJP is trying to regain lost political ground.
A senior BJP leader told IANS, "The state government should not have banned the installation of idols at public places during Ganesh Chaturthi as it is a major part of the festival. The DMK government has done it deliberately and is trying to test the waters on how the Hindus would react. The BJP and the Hindu Munnani will hold protests and fight against the state government's decision to insult the Hindu community."