DMK, INC accuses BJP of trying to divide Tamil Nadu as 'Kongu Nadu' sparks row

A hot tussle has been going on in the South Indian social media and News media on speculation of a possible formation of a geographical entity named Kongu Nadu, named after an umbrella term 'Kongu' identifying the Western part of Tamil Nadu; a stronghold of Gounder community — a powerful OBC community in the state with money and muscle power that often gets significant representation in the state cabinet.

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In the last few weeks, the regional news media in South India and Social media has got stirred up with speculative reports that the Centre has planned to convert the Western districts into a Kongu Nadu UT (Union Territory). This has popped up in the political space of Tamil Nadu after a few days of a major cabinet reshuffle by the Centre, which has provided a cabinet position to the former BJP TN State President Dr. L Murugan, who hails from the Kongu region of TN.

Rapid, conflicting developments took over this issue after a front-page report carried by popular Tamil daily Dinamalar that said the Centre was planning to carve out Kongu Nadu as a Union Territory from Tamil Nadu as a “befitting” response to the DMK government which refers to the Union Government as "Ondriya Arasu" in Tamil. The Dinamalar report claimed the BJP was toying with announcing the region into a Union Territory since it enjoys popularity in the region.

KS Alagiri, TNCC (Tamil Nadu Congress Committee) President, said these are the BJP’s tactics to divert the people’s attention from its failures on the economic and social fronts and its mismanagement of COVID-19. He added BJP had crafted a "planned, but wrong marketing gimmick" that would lose its momentum after a few days of debate in the public space. Upon comparing the so-called 'Kongu region' with Telangana, which is a legacy of the administrative split in Andhra Pradesh, KS Alagiri cited that no one has asked for a separation and no such narratives exist currently. Also, he questioned the relevance of splitting TN in the light that the Kongu-region is an economically well-developed region, unlike Telangana.

However, BJP State general secretary K Nagarajan said the proposal was in the initial stages, and the people of the Kongu region wanted its creation. On a contradicting note, Party State Treasurer in Tirupur, SR Sekhar, said the BJP did not have any such proposals “for now".

The phrase ‘Kongu Nadu’ within the profile of the Union minister has additionally been seen as a counter to DMK’s assertive place to use the phrase “Ondriya” (Union) as an alternative of “Madhiya” (Centre) to refer to the Central authorities in official paperwork.

On the other side of the political spectrum, parties such as MDMK and movements like Thanthai Periyar Dravidar Kazhagam staged protests in various parts of Coimbatore, the central district Kongu-region in TN. They condemned the reported proposal and demanded a clarification from the Centre over the issue. Leaders of the DMK-led Secular Progressive Alliance on Sunday said no one could bifurcate TN. Kanimozhi, Member of Parliament and leader from DMK, said that "no one can divide Tamil Nadu or even dream of such a thing".

Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader G Balakrishnan said that the BJP attempted this for political gains. “This is dangerous,” he said. "The people of Tamil Nadu will not allow this. Such actions by the BJP to enter Tamil Nadu through the backdoor will only cause severe repercussions for the party,” said Balakrishnan.

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