Delhi BJP puts Perumal Murugan’s face on slum campaign, author reacts

The renowned Tamil writer was featured on a poster for BJP Delhi’s outreach campaign in the city’s slums, where he was shown among a group of people seemingly meant to represent slum dwellers.
Author Perumal Murugan
Author Perumal Murugan
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The Delhi BJP on Monday, November 29 featured Tamil writer Perumal Murugan’s image on posters of its outreach campaign in the city’s slums, as part of its ‘Jhuggi Samman Yatra’ campaign. In the poster, the image of Murugan, a renowned Tamil author, was shown among a group of people seemingly meant to represent slum dwellers. The posters were also shared on Twitter by the Delhi BJP. 

Many social media users flagged the appearance of Murugan's photo on the campaign posters, including one put up at the stage from where BJP president JP Nadda addressed the closing ceremony of the outreach programme in Anand Parbat area of the city on Monday, November 29.

In response to the posters, Murugan, who has written a number of acclaimed novels, short stories and poems, said he was happy to be featured alongside slum dwellers. “I myself belong to slums, so I am delighted. I am happy to have featured along with them,” Murugan said, according to The Wire.  

According to PTI, Delhi BJP spokesperson Praveen Shankar Kapoor said the author's photograph was used “inadvertently.” "The design was provided to us by a vendor and the photo was inadvertently used. If this faux pas has hurt Shri Perumal Murugan's sentiments, we apologise," Kapoor said.

The ‘Jhuggi Samman Yatra’ campaign was launched by the Delhi BJP in October to tap votes of slum residents, ahead of municipal corporation polls early next year. It was aimed at covering 33 assembly segments till November 29 with an aim to reach out to residents of slum colonies in the national capital.

A famed author of contemporary Tamil literature, Murugan has garnered both critical acclaim and commercial success for his vast array of work. Murugan had announced a self-imposed literary exile in 2015, after a controversy over his book ‘Madhorubagan’ (One Part Woman), for which he faced threats and protests of certain Hindu groups and castes, who even burned copies of the book. He ended his literary exile in 2016 with a collection of 200 poems titled ‘Kozhaiyin Padalgal’ (Songs of a Coward). 

With PTI inputs  

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