A month-old remark by Tamil Nadu Assembly Speaker and DMK leader M Appavu stating that “Tamil Nadu would have become Bihar” had it not been for the presence of Catholic Christians in the state has stirred a major controversy in the southern state. A video of Appavu speaking at the centenary celebrations of St. Paul seminary in Tiruchirapalli on June 28 recently went viral on social media, leading to the BJP questioning the ruling DMK’s secular credentials.
“If Christian fathers and sisters were not there in Tamil Nadu it would have been like Bihar. Catholic fathers have helped me to grow to this position. The Tamil Nadu government is your government. You created this government. Catholic Christians are the main reason for social justice and the Dravidian model of government,” Appavu can be heard saying in the video.
“You do not need to depend on others, you can directly give your problems to the Chief Minister. He will not deny anything but will sort out everything. It is your government and your Chief Minister. If Christians are removed from Tamil Nadu, there would be no development. Catholic Christians are the main reason for the state’s development. Today’s Tamil Nadu is built on you.” Appavu added.
The BJP has now latched on to the Speaker’s remark, condemning the DMK leader for his controversial statement. “Is this the secularism of DMK? They have lost their claim to call themselves a secular party. Appavu’s statement proves that DMK is an anti-Hindu party,” Narayanan Tripathy, vice president of BJP’s Tamil Nadu unit, said on Twitter.
Appavu, however, said his remarks were taken out of context and accused the BJP of unnecessarily politicising the issue. “If BJP is publishing my speech that’s good. But only the short clips of the whole statement are being circulated. What I said was taken out of context, there should be no politics on that,” he said.