Bharatiya Janata Party MP Tejasvi Surya on Sunday called the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam and its ideology “anti-Hindu” and asked the people of Tamil Nadu to defeat MK Stalin’s party in the upcoming state polls, reported ANI.

“DMK represents a bad, virulent ideology which is anti-Hindu,” Surya said at a Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha convention in Salem district. “Every Tamil is a proud Hindu. This is the sacred land that has the highest number of temples in the country. Every inch of Tamil Nadu is sacred, but DMK is anti-Hindu, so we must defeat it.”

Tamil Nadu is going to the polls later this year. The BJP, which does not have a single seat in the Tamil Nadu Assembly, is attempting to paint the Dravidian groups as “anti-national” outfits that have allegedly insulted the Hindu faith. It had launched the “Vetrivel Yatrai” for the same purpose as the party had declared.

Union Minister of Defence Rajnath Singh, who also attended the event, claimed that the success of BJP’s “Vetrivel Yatrai” had shaken the DMK and its ally, the Congress.

During the event, Surya also asserted that the BJP represents the spirit of the state and the Tamil language. “[The] Bharatiya Janata Party is the only party that respects and promotes all regional languages of India,” he said. “If Tamil has to survive, Hindutva has to win. If Kannada has to win, Hindutva has to win. BJP represents the spirit of Tamil Nadu and Tamil language.”

The BJP MP from Bangalore South also alleged that the DMK has changed the definition of democracy in Tamil Nadu, reported The News Minute. “The DMK’s definition of democracy is ‘of the family, by the family, for the family’,” he said, appealing to the audience to reject the family politics of the DMK.

Surya then described the BJP as party for which the party is the family.

Political parties in Tamil Nadu are stepping up their campaign for the elections, which are due by April-May. The BJP is contesting the polls in alliance with the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam.

Vetrivel Yatrai and BJP

The Vetrivel Yatrai was conceptualised following a series of controversies that erupted in July over a video that a Periyarist group called “Karuppar Koottam” put up on YouTube.

The BJP alleged that the video was obscene in interpreting the devotional Tamil work “Kanda Sashti Kavasam”, a hugely popular set of hymns dedicated to Murugan that is played and chanted in many Tamil households every day. In Hindu mythology, Murugan is seen as Subrahmanyan, the younger son of Shiva. He is often referred to as an ancestor of the Tamil race.

The video sparked popular anger against Karuppar Koottam, and the AIADMK government arrested some of its members in July. The controversy also had an effect on the Tamil media, leading to high-profile resignations of veteran journalists, who were specifically targeted by BJP sympathisers for what they alleged to be anti-Hindu bias.

Given the popular response the controversy evoked, the BJP saw an opportunity. In August, it conducted a “Vel poojai” in which the mythical weapon of Murugan called “Vel” was worshiped in the houses of party members.

Also read: Will the BJP’s ‘Vetrivel Yatrai’ in Tamil Nadu end its alliance with the AIADMK?

In October, the BJP announced that its state president L Murugan, who is from the Arunthathiyar community that falls under the Scheduled Caste list, would lead a tour to the six major abodes of Muruga in the state. The yatrai was scheduled to start on November 6 and end on December 6, the anniversary of the Babri Masjid demolition in Ayodhya in the aftermath of Advani’s rath yatra.

Opposition parties slammed the BJP for attempting to flare up communal passions in the garb of taking a tour to temples. The AIADMK government had also denied permission to the BJP to hold the rally, citing the spread of coronavirus as its concern.