Tripura and Tamil Nadu are far from each other geographically, but the political occurrences in the north-eastern state have had ramifications in the south.
Hours after it was clear that the BJP was set to form the government in Tripura, a statue of Lenin was razed to the ground. BJP supporters in Tamil Nadu took to social media to celebrate the vandalism and further added that statues of anti-caste revolutionary EV Ramasamy, commonly known as Periyar, in Tamil Nadu would be the next to fall.
As was only to be expected, these statements have led to much anger in Tamil Nadu where Periyar's ideology is still held dear by the people.
Responding to the news, actor Sathyaraj, who is a vocal rationalist and who'd played the role of Periyar in a Tamil film, has hit back at the BJP.
In a video, the actor, dressed in black, says, "I condemn the demolition of comrade and revolutionary Lenin's statue in Tripura. I ask that the Tamil Nadu government take legal action against H Raja who said that Periyar's statue will be demolished in the state. Periyar is not a statue, not a name, not a body, not a mortal made of blood, flesh, and bones. Periyar is a philosophy. He is an ideology created for the freedom of the working classes, for the freedom of women, for abolishing superstition. He does not merely live as a statue, he lives in our hearts. I want to tell you that you cannot remove the Periyar who lives in our hearts with any position, power, or army. If you tell us the time and date, the followers of Periyar are ready to accept your challenge. H Raja must apologise, the Tamil Nadu government must take legal action against him."
On Tuesday, actor turned politician Khushbu, who is the National Spokesperson of the Congress party, had issued a similar challenge to H Raja and BJP supporters to inform Periyar's followers about when they planned to demolish the statues.
Let's see if BJP has the guts to expel the dirty 'echchai"raja.. and I challenge this sort.. give a date to break the statue of #Periyar..I will be there.. let me see if you the guts to surpass me and many like me..even your shadow cannot touch the statue of #Periyar..â€” khushbusundar (@khushsundar) March 6, 2018
I https://t.co/pVu7DE9bVR to see if the spineless @AIADMK govt has the guts n courage to condemn this 'echchai'..some ministers keep screaming their lungs out at every given opportunity about @ikamalhaasan n @superstarrajini do I hear them speaking now? #bloodycowardsâ€” khushbusundar (@khushsundar) March 6, 2018
The Facebook page of H Raja, National Secretary of the BJP, carried a post on Tuesday which celebrated the fall of Lenin's statue and warned that Periyar's would be next. Following outrage, H Raja claimed that he had not posted the statement and that one of the admins of the page had done so. The post was deleted and on Wednesday, H Raja expressed regret for the statements.
Meanwhile, the Suryah SG, the Vice President of the BJP's youth wing in Tamil Nadu, had also tweeted that Periyar's statue would be next after Lenin's. He'd also claimed that H Raja had not deleted the post himself and that it had been removed because several people had reported it in an "organised" effort.