One of the cardinal functions of a government is to protect the country from fissiparous activities and anarchy and to hold the land in unity and integrity. It is also expected to stem any attempts to incite spite and disunity in society through fake propaganda and rumours, treating them as anti-social and seditionary acts. A common sense corollary of this is that if things move in the opposition direction, that will pose a threat to the stability of the country. It is not surprising, but rather disastrous that under the Sangh Parivar rule, the common sense of the citizenry is being constantly challenged. When policy and decisions that throw daily lives into the doldrums are declared overnight and implemented by the government or its subordinate arms, taking the people who repose faith in it by surprise, the first casualty is mutual trust. And their consequences, even if beneficial to the vested interests of some, will not be to the good of the nation in the long run. The country is now realising that the BJP government's handling of crisis such as demonetisation, Jammu-Kashmir bifurcation, enactment of Citizenship Amendment Act and Covid prevention drive were uniformly chaotic. The socio-economic and political impact caused by these reforms are persisting unresolved. It is in such background that curious and disturbing reports are emerging about some intriguing backroom moves capable of compounding the conundrum.
It is on the auspicious occasion when in Tamil Nadu a new government is bracing itself raising hopes through novel popular welfare programmes that the Sangh Parivar has fired the guns of a call for bifurcation. The talk of the Centre planning to carve out a new union territory named 'Kongu Nadu' including the western districts of Pollachi, Namakkal, Dharapuram, Thiruchengodu, Erode, Palani, Karur, Salem, Nilgiris, Avinashi, Satyamangalam, Dharmapuri, Coimbatore and Udumalaipet have sparked widespread protests all across Tamil Nadu.
As per reports, the storm was caused by the former BJP head in Tamil Nadu L Murugan who got a berth in the Union cabinet in the recent cabinet reshuffle, was introduced by the Union government as hailing from Kongu Nadu. And the newly appointed party president who succeeded him, K Annamalai also has given his identity as hailing from Kongu Nadu. Soon the screenshots of these posts became viral followed by a news item in a Tamil newspaper that a 'Kongu Nadu' was going to be born which were enough to trigger protests among the people. In this region, predominantly populated by the Gounder community belonging to the OBC, it was the AIADMK that won the upper hand in the recent state assembly election even amidst the sterling victory of the DMK in the state as a whole. Thus, all the non-BJP parties came out with protest programmes including street protests alleging that the BJP was plotting to carve out a new union territory centring round this region. In response, the BJP is swearing that it will never allow Tamil Nadu to be divided. And the state BJP is not ready to confirm the bifurcation reports. All the same, its state leaders are heard offering justifications for the new proposal. State secretary Karu Nagarajan reacted that the people's will should be fulfilled and that in other states like Telangana, it has happened. BJP's legislative party leader Nainar Nagendran also sounded a similar tone asking why the DMK should be afraid, when after all it is all Tamil Nadu, and Andhra and UP were divided; if the people want it, the Centre is bound to grant their wishes. All this points to a game plan right in earnest at the back end.
Earlier, the DMK government had decided to call the 'Central government' (madhya arasu) as 'Union government' (onriya arasu). MK Stalin's government justified it saying that this adheres to the spirit of the Constitution. This is said to have touched the raw nerve of the BJP government which is said to have retaliated by using the nomenclature of Kongu Nadu. But when things take a serious turn, they also seem to be adopting a tough stand. The rationale used by the TN government for using 'Union' instead of 'Central' is that the concept of 'union' in the Constitution carries the spirit of a federal structure that co-ordinates various states of the country as opposed to the concept of Centre which is a sign of an autocratic trend to concentrate all power in one place. But paradoxically enough, it is exactly in response to that argument that the BJP has zeroed on that very point challenging in effect any one to dare its diktat, but also in the process igniting embers of division. With the precedent of bifurcation of Jammu-Kashmir in the north, let every one hope that the Modi government will not show the imprudence in the south too by plunging Tamil Nadu also into turmoil.