CT Ravi: Karnataka’s Controversial Hindutva Man to Guide BJP in TN
He rose by driving up communal tension over Chikkamagaluru’s Baba Budangiri shrine. Is that his plan for Tamil Nadu?
Even at the peak of the anti-Emergency wave across India, Chikmagaluru elected Indira Gandhi to the Lok Sabha in 1977. The seat stayed a Congress bastion till 1998 when the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) wrested power. The saffron party has won all subsequent general elections here, except for one.
The BJP’s gains in this hill town are attributed to the communal politics over Baba Budangiri, which was often referred to as South India’s Ayodhya. This hilltop shrine has been a pilgrimage spot for both Hindus and Muslims. Hindus consider the hill to be the final resting place of Lord Dattatreya, while the Muslim community believe the dargah is one of the earliest centres of Sufism in south India.
But over the years, the BJP, Bajrang Dal, VHP and other saffron outfits have been demanding that the shrine be declared a Hindu temple. At the forefront of this fight has been BJP and RSS leader CT Ravi.
CT Ravi, has built his political career on the communal politics over this shrine, rising to become a Cabinet minister in Karnataka. In the first week of October, he resigned from his ministerial post, and took up his new task – to ensure BJP’s victory in poll-bound Tami Nadu.
Communal, Brash and Unapologetic
When protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act were being held across India, CT Ravi had issued a warning to those supporting the anti-CAA protests, stating that “the majority’s patience must not be tested”.
"Just because the majority community here is patient, you are trying to put fire everywhere. If they too are enraged and if the limit of their patience is breached, what happens thereafter, you need to look back once. Our patience is not our weakness," CT Ravi had said.
This was one of the many controversies involving the BJP man.
“His understanding of politics comes from his days in Chikkamagaluru. He knows that communal politics aided his political career, so he's unapologetic about his views” explained a BJP Karnataka leader.
The leader added that the BJP’s choice for party in-charge for Tamil Nadu gives a hint about the saffron party’s plans for the state.
Plans for Tamil Nadu
With the state being dominated by two major parties, All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), the BJP has not found resonance in Tamil Nadu over the last 40 years of its existence. Therefore, the party sees communal politics as a new way forward here. The Vetrivel Yatra and the protest over Manusmriti are part of this new strategy. Ravi is expected to mastermind this new approach for the BJP in Tamil Nadu.
Ravi had overseen the Assembly elections in Tamil Nadu and Kerala in 2016, working under the national organising joint secretary BL Santosh during this time.
“Ravi, with the experience in Chikamagaluru, is expected to aid the party’s plans in Tamil Nadu. He is shrewd and has organisational skills. This will be very useful for the party,” a senior BJP leader told The Quint.
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