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PM Modi & Amit Shah Have a Clear 'Tamil Nadu Plan' for 2024 Polls: Can it Work?

PM Narendra Modi's speech in response to the No Confidence Motion had at least nine references to Tamil Nadu.

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi's reply to the Opposition's No Confidence Motion last week has given fresh enthusiasm to the BJP in Tamil Nadu. This is because in his speech, the PM mentioned Tamil Nadu as many as nine times - which is being seen as proof of his plan to give special focus on the state.

Earlier, during the inauguration of the new Parliament building, PM Modi presented a Sengol or Chola era sceptre for installation near the Speaker's chair.

"PM Modi is giving a new narrative to Tamil Nadu politics. We are confident it will give us success in the state in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections," a state BJP functionary told The Quint.

The functionary also expressed the desire to see PM Modi contesting from a seat in Tamil Nadu in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

PM Modi & Amit Shah Have a Clear 'Tamil Nadu Plan' for 2024 Polls: Can it Work?

  1. 1. What PM Modi Said About Tamil Nadu

    In his reply to the No Confidence Motion, PM Modi made a number of statements on Tamil Nadu:

    • Claiming that Tamil Nadu has a steadfast anti-Congress history, he said, "The Congress last won Tamil Nadu in 1962. Since 61 years, the people of Tamil Nadu have been saying 'no confidence' to the Congress".

    • "I want to tell my brothers in the DMK, I want to tell the Congress. The UPA thinks that they can use the name 'INDIA' to boost their credibility. But a leader of Congress' close ally, minister in Tamil Nadu, said two days ago that India holds no importance and that Tamil Nadu is not part of India at all."

    • The above seemed to have been a reference to a recent statement made by DMK minister EV Velu. However, Velu has alleged that his remarks have been misrepresented.

    "I want to say with pride today that Tamil Nadu is that state where the streams of nationalism have flown. The state which gave us Raja ji, gave us Kamaraj, agave us MGR, Abdul Kalam. Today we are hearing such words from that Tamil Nadu."
    Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in response to the No Confidence Motion

    "Someone ask the Congress what is Katchatheevu? The CM of their own ally - DMK - writes to me and says 'Modiji, take back Katchatheevu'. What is Katchatheevu? It is a small island beyond the coast of Tamil Nadu and before Sri Lanka. Someone gave it away to the other country. Wasn't it a part of Bharat Mata? This happened under the leadership of Smt. Indira Gandhi."

    Expand
  2. 2. What's the BJP's Strategy in Tamil Nadu?

    The BJP's aim is to carve out its own organic identity in Tamil Nadu. At the core of this lies an ideological battle.

    Sources in the BJP say that the party plans to challenge the DMK from an ideological point of view and not just politically.

    "The idea is to challenge the narrative of separateness that parties like DMK are pushing," revealed a BJP leader closely involved with the party's affairs in Tamil Nadu.

    This was evident in PM Modi's allegations against the DMK minister.

    The ideological counter also involves challenging the hegemony of the Dravidian movement over Tamil Nadu politics.

    In his speech, PM Modi carefully mentioned prominent figures from Tamil Nadu who are not associated with the Dravidian movement, such as C Rajagopalachari and APJ Abdul Kalam. A major exception, however, was MG Ramachandran.

    While there are no plans to end the alliance with the AIADMK, PMK and Tamil Maanila Congress, the BJP wants to play a more dominant role in the coalition.

    Expand
  3. 3. Can BJP's Strategy Work?

    The BJP is no doubt managing to create some noise in Tamil Nadu, through PM Modi's statements as well as the proactive role of state unit chief K Annamalai.

    The party also hopes that the situation has changed a bit compared to the 2019 as at that time the resentment against the AIADMK-led regime was at its peak.

    However, carving out one's own 'identity' in Tamil Nadu is no easy task, for the following reasons.

    BJP doesn't have a very strong organisational base in the state. In many of the districts, it doesn't have proper booth-level committees.
    • Also the dominance of Dravidian parties hasn't weakened at all and the BJP may not be able to afford a direct ideological confrontation beyond a point.

    • Then, PM Modi had a poor approval rating in Tamil Nadu even at the peak of his wave in 2019. Though Modi has taken personal interest in boosting his image in the state, it remains to be seen how far he has been successful.

    • Another aspect that may be harming the BJP is the controversial role of the present Tamil Nadu Governor and his tussle with the state government.

    • Despite its visibility, BJP remains hugely dependent on the AIADMK's organisational base in Tamil Nadu. In terms of base as well as organisation, the DMK-led alliance, which includes the Congress, MDMK, VCK, Left parties and IUML, remain stronger than the NDA.

    Expand
  4. 4. Can PM Modi Contest from a Seat in Tamil Nadu?

    There has been speculation that PM Modi could contest from a seat in Tamil Nadu in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. The possible constituencies whose names were doing the rounds were Coimbatore, Kanniyakumari and Ramanathapuram. They are presently held by the Left, Congress and IUML respectively.

    Among them the BJP state unit prefers Coimbatore and Kanniyakumari as the BJP has a more solid base in these two seats, as compared to Ramanathapuram, where it would be relatively more dependent on the AIADMK.

    However, this is still in the realm of speculation. It is possible that the BJP leadership is itself fanning these rumours to create a buzz around PM Modi in Tamil Nadu.

    A final decision on this will happen based on the prevailing circumstances closer to the elections.

    (At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

    Expand
  1. So what did PM Modi say in the speech that has enthused BJP cadres in Tamil Nadu?

  2. What is the BJP top leadership's plan to improve in the state, which has so far remained insulated from the Modi wave?

  3. Can PM Modi contest from Tamil Nadu?

  4. Will the BJP's strategy work?

This piece will try and answer some of these questions.

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What PM Modi Said About Tamil Nadu

In his reply to the No Confidence Motion, PM Modi made a number of statements on Tamil Nadu:

  • Claiming that Tamil Nadu has a steadfast anti-Congress history, he said, "The Congress last won Tamil Nadu in 1962. Since 61 years, the people of Tamil Nadu have been saying 'no confidence' to the Congress".

  • "I want to tell my brothers in the DMK, I want to tell the Congress. The UPA thinks that they can use the name 'INDIA' to boost their credibility. But a leader of Congress' close ally, minister in Tamil Nadu, said two days ago that India holds no importance and that Tamil Nadu is not part of India at all."

  • The above seemed to have been a reference to a recent statement made by DMK minister EV Velu. However, Velu has alleged that his remarks have been misrepresented.

"I want to say with pride today that Tamil Nadu is that state where the streams of nationalism have flown. The state which gave us Raja ji, gave us Kamaraj, agave us MGR, Abdul Kalam. Today we are hearing such words from that Tamil Nadu."
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in response to the No Confidence Motion

"Someone ask the Congress what is Katchatheevu? The CM of their own ally - DMK - writes to me and says 'Modiji, take back Katchatheevu'. What is Katchatheevu? It is a small island beyond the coast of Tamil Nadu and before Sri Lanka. Someone gave it away to the other country. Wasn't it a part of Bharat Mata? This happened under the leadership of Smt. Indira Gandhi."

0

What's the BJP's Strategy in Tamil Nadu?

The BJP's aim is to carve out its own organic identity in Tamil Nadu. At the core of this lies an ideological battle.

Sources in the BJP say that the party plans to challenge the DMK from an ideological point of view and not just politically.

"The idea is to challenge the narrative of separateness that parties like DMK are pushing," revealed a BJP leader closely involved with the party's affairs in Tamil Nadu.

This was evident in PM Modi's allegations against the DMK minister.

The ideological counter also involves challenging the hegemony of the Dravidian movement over Tamil Nadu politics.

In his speech, PM Modi carefully mentioned prominent figures from Tamil Nadu who are not associated with the Dravidian movement, such as C Rajagopalachari and APJ Abdul Kalam. A major exception, however, was MG Ramachandran.

While there are no plans to end the alliance with the AIADMK, PMK and Tamil Maanila Congress, the BJP wants to play a more dominant role in the coalition.

ADVERTISEMENTREMOVE AD

Can BJP's Strategy Work?

The BJP is no doubt managing to create some noise in Tamil Nadu, through PM Modi's statements as well as the proactive role of state unit chief K Annamalai.

The party also hopes that the situation has changed a bit compared to the 2019 as at that time the resentment against the AIADMK-led regime was at its peak.

However, carving out one's own 'identity' in Tamil Nadu is no easy task, for the following reasons.

BJP doesn't have a very strong organisational base in the state. In many of the districts, it doesn't have proper booth-level committees.
  • Also the dominance of Dravidian parties hasn't weakened at all and the BJP may not be able to afford a direct ideological confrontation beyond a point.

  • Then, PM Modi had a poor approval rating in Tamil Nadu even at the peak of his wave in 2019. Though Modi has taken personal interest in boosting his image in the state, it remains to be seen how far he has been successful.

  • Another aspect that may be harming the BJP is the controversial role of the present Tamil Nadu Governor and his tussle with the state government.

  • Despite its visibility, BJP remains hugely dependent on the AIADMK's organisational base in Tamil Nadu. In terms of base as well as organisation, the DMK-led alliance, which includes the Congress, MDMK, VCK, Left parties and IUML, remain stronger than the NDA.

ADVERTISEMENTREMOVE AD

Can PM Modi Contest from a Seat in Tamil Nadu?

There has been speculation that PM Modi could contest from a seat in Tamil Nadu in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. The possible constituencies whose names were doing the rounds were Coimbatore, Kanniyakumari and Ramanathapuram. They are presently held by the Left, Congress and IUML respectively.

Among them the BJP state unit prefers Coimbatore and Kanniyakumari as the BJP has a more solid base in these two seats, as compared to Ramanathapuram, where it would be relatively more dependent on the AIADMK.

However, this is still in the realm of speculation. It is possible that the BJP leadership is itself fanning these rumours to create a buzz around PM Modi in Tamil Nadu.

A final decision on this will happen based on the prevailing circumstances closer to the elections.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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