Jayalalithaa: The Misunderstood Hindutva Leader

Tamil Nadu BJP president K Annamalai reasserts that the late AIADMK supremo, J Jayalalithaa, was a staunch Hindutva leader, emphasizing her support for the Ram temple, Uniform Civil Code, and abrogation of Article 370. He clarifies that Hindutva is a way of life, addressing misconceptions and critiquing AIADMK's current stance.

PTI | Chennai | Updated: 28-05-2024 00:10 IST | Created: 28-05-2024 00:10 IST
Jayalalithaa: The Misunderstood Hindutva Leader
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Tamil Nadu BJP president K Annamalai on Monday said the term Hindutva is distorted in the state and reiterated that former Chief Minister and late AIADMK supremo J Jayalalithaa was a Hindutva leader. He underscored her support for the Ram temple, Uniform Civil Code and abrogation of Article 370.

Asserting that he was ready for a debate on the issue with AIADMK, Annamalai said: ''Jayalalithaa was an ardent follower of Hindutva.'' Speaking to reporters, he said if anybody from the AIADMK had doubts about Hindutva they may refer to the 1995 Supreme Court judgement on the matter.

That verdict by Justice J S Verma made it clear that Hindutva is a way of life. ''Taking along everybody is Hindutva... depending only on Hinduism is not Hindutva,'' he said and added that his definition of Hindutva stemmed from the apex court judgment.

''In Tamil Nadu, (the term) Hindutva is distorted...I am quoting the Supreme Court verdict...What we say is we are not enemies to anyone.'' Elaborating on his recent comment that Jayalalithaa was a Hindutva leader, he said that on July 26, 1984, Jayalalithaa spoke in Rajya Sabha demanding abrogation of Article 370. ''Today, you ask about AIADMK's stand on this issue.'' In November 1992, she said at a meeting of the National Integration Council that Kar Seva was not a 'wrong word' and staunchly opposed dismissal of three BJP-led state governments following the demolition of the Babri Masjid. In 1993, she organised a signature campaign favouring construction of Ram Temple. She had also asked if a temple for Lord Ram cannot be built in India, whether it is possible to construct it in Pakistan.

''Today, the leader of that party says he could not go to Ram Mandir (consecration) due to leg pain,'' he said, apparently taking a jibe at AIADMK chief Edappadi K Palaniswami. Ahead of the Ram Mandir consecration ceremony, Palaniswami had said that he experienced pain in his leg and may take part in the consecration ceremony if there was an opportunity.

The late 'Amma' also favoured the Uniform Civil Code, saying it was necessary for a multi-religious country like India rendering equality to all. However, in July 2023, AIADMK opposed UCC. She enacted an anti-conversion law (later rescinded by her) and also set up a Veda patashala.

She also stood for declaring Ram Sethu as a national monument. Today, the AIADMK says it would study the matter and act accordingly. Annamalai said his party is ready for a debate on Jayalalithaa vs Hindutva with AIADMK.

When the RSS head office in Chennai was flattened following a bomb blast in 1993, Jayalalithaa offered to construct it from 'government funds,' but that organisation declined the offer, he claimed and asked what was wrong in saying that she was a Hindutva leader.

Annamalai told reporters that he only reiterated his line on Hindutva when he gave an interview to PTI in Delhi on May 23. However, some got 'confused' about his comment and opposed him, he said. ''I never said Jayalalaithaa was an enemy of Muslims and Christians.'' Claims are also made that since BJP is a Hindutva party it is against Muslims and Christians and such claims are false.

In his interview to PTI, Annamalai had said, ''...till Jayalalithaaji was alive, she was a far superior Hindutva leader than anybody in Tamil Nadu. Pre-2014, when you have a party like the BJP and Jayalalithaa as a leader the natural choice of a Hindu voter would be Jayalalithaa, who displayed her Hindu identity openly.

Annamalai's remark evoked strong condemnation from AIADMK and V K Sasikala, confidante of late Jayalalithaa.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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