Tamil Nadu Governor RN Ravi's alleged 'Thamizhagam' remark evoked spontaneous ire of the ruling DMK, which on Sunday accused him of unnecessarily interfering in state politics rather than paying attention to developmental initiatives.
On the contrary, the BJP justified Ravi's remark saying the word Thamizhagam is in common usage in the state, and that the DMK was needlessly targeting him as he questioned the government on the NEET Bill.
"The Governor is trying to do something that doesn't suit his gubernatorial position. He wants to talk about politics rather than bestow importance to the developmental initiatives of the DMK government," says RS Bharathi, DMK’s organising secretary.
Stopping short of asking the Governor to refrain from indulging in politics, Bharathi, who is a senior advocate, told PTI that it was unbefitting of the Governor to interfere in state politics. Ravi ought to resign if he wants to talk about politics, he said.
"He is fit only to be a lecturer in a college. He has been sleeping over the government Bills and is interfering in unwarranted matters, which is causing disunity in an orderly state. He wants to do injustice and harm to the harmony in Tamil Nadu," Bharathi claimed.
While speaking at a felicitation to the organisers and volunteers of Kashi Tamil Sangamam held at the Raj Bhavan here on January 4, Ravi had allegedly remarked that Thamizhagam is a more appropriate name for Tamil Nadu.
"Here in Tamil Nadu, a different kind of narrative has been created. Everything applicable for the whole of the country, Tamil Nadu will say no. It has become a habit. So many theses have been written - all false and poor fiction. This must be broken. Truth must prevail," he had said at the event.
"Thamizhagam would be more appropriate word to call it. The rest of the country suffered a lot of devastation at the hands of foreigners for a long time," Ravi further said.
Claiming there was nothing wrong in the Governor's suggestion, BJP state vice president M Chakravarthy said the DMK targeted Ravi as he questioned the government on the NEET Bill and another to ban online gambling.
"They are jumping the gun at the mention of his very name. It seems the nationalistic views expressed by Ravi don't go well with the DMK," Chakravarthy told PTI.
BJP state chief K Annamalai lashed out at the DMK for criticising Ravi and said "the DMK has long been trying to bury their secessionist past, their ideological parent party wanting a separate Dravida Nadu, later a separate Tamil Nadu".
In a series of tweets, Annamalai hit out at the Dravidian major saying "instead of the DMK party, the separatists nurtured by them continue to echo this sentiment today". The DMK cadre, even recently, said that the 'Dravida Nadu' plea was not forgotten and propelled separatist sentiments, Annamalai alleged.
"And the same coterie has an issue when our Hon Gov of TN Thiru RN Ravi avl opines that he prefers Tamizhagam over Tamil Nadu. Surprisingly, Tamizhagam is widely used over Tamil Nadu by the @arivalayam party & even by @CMOTamilnadu; but they still have a problem with @rajbhavan_tn avl’s opinion," he said.
"Since the Sangam era, Tamil literature has referred to this landmass as both Tamizhagam and Tamil Nadu," Annamalai said in another tweet.
At the event, Ravi had said that there has been regressive politics with 'wrong habit' of refusing everything that benefit all sections of people including academicians, by claiming that the state is not integrally a part of India. To that extent, the Kashi Tamil Sangamam is the start of a power-packed journey with the contribution of everyone in spreading its legacy further more towards national resurgence, Ravi had said.
Declining to accept that the Governor was attempting to set a narrative to change the name of the state, DMK spokesperson A Saravanan alleged that Ravi was attempting to pick up unnecessary controversies.
"His focus is not development and welfare of the state. The Dravidian model of Chief Minister M K Stalin is dong phenomenally good. This is irking the top brass of the RSS. Apparently, the Governor wants to shift the focus on something else," Saravanan alleged.
On the regressive politics remark, Saravanan told PTI that regressiveness is inbuilt in the RSS.
Tamil Nadu, earlier known as Madras State following independence, got its present name after the sacrifices made by many including Sankaralinganar (Tamil independence activist and Gandhian) who demanded renaming the state as Tamil Nadu, he said.
Sankaralinganar, who launched a hunger strike on July 27, 1956, in Virudhunagar, died at a hospital in Madurai after 76 days of fasting. Even C Rajagopalachari, the last Governor General of India, too advocated the name change, Saravanan claimed and alleged that Ravi is "attempting to wreck the state of Tamil Nadu, which we will not allow."