Murugan rewarded for work as T.N. BJP chief

4 party nominees made it to Assembly

The induction of BJP Tamil Nadu president L. Murugan in the Union Ministry on Wednesday is seen as reward for his party work in a short period, as well as representation for the State in the second government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Though Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar are Tamils, they have no political role.

Pon. Radhakrishnan was the last Union Minister from the State in the previous government.

From Dalit community

Appointed president in March 2020, Mr. Murugan, a lawyer and former Vice-Chairman of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes, ensured that four of the party’s candidates made it to the Assembly after 15 years. He was the second Dalit to hold the post after S.P. Kirubanidhi.

Despite murmurs in the party about his style of functioning, Mr. Murugan kept the party focused on the goal of sending its members to the Assembly, though he lost by a slender margin in Dharapuram.

His tenure was filled with attacks on the DMK and its allies. He organised the ‘Vetrivel Yatra’ across the State, following a controversy over the Hindu religious hymn, Kanda Shashti Kavacham, by a YouTube channel, Karuppar Kootam, which he has alleged had the backing of the DMK. The yatra, though failed to become a mass movement, kept the party in the limelight in the run-up to the election while trying to portray the party as the saviour and voice of the Hindus in the State.

Mr. Murugan will have to be elected to the Rajya Sabha within six months to remain in the Ministry.

With his elevation, the State unit is set to get a new president. Former IPS officer K. Annamalai is considered the frontrunner. The other names doing the rounds are those of Nainar Nagendran, Karuppu Muruganandam and R. Srinivasan. Mr. Nagendran, however, may not be given the post as he is the party’s floor leader in the Assembly. Sources in the BJP said the party would likely undergo another revamp once the new president was appointed.

A party leader said that in the recent past, the BJP had shown that it was willing to promote leaders who could keep the party under the spotlight and were able to take on the two Dravidian parties. Mr. Murugan’s predecessor Tamilisai Soundararajan was elevated as the Governor of Telangana and later given the additional charge of Puducherry.

BJP national general secretary in charge of Tamil Nadu C.T. Ravi told The Hindu that Mr. Murugan’s elevation was a recognition of his hard work, dedication and loyalty. “The party has also ensured social justice. Some parties only make tall claims about social justice, we implement it,” he said.

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