After Sardar Patel and BR Ambedkar, BJP wants Kamaraj’s legacy now

Celebrates anniversary in Tamil Nadu birthplace, Naidu describes how Indira, Emergency ‘upset’ leader.

Written by Liz Mathew | New Delhi | Updated: July 17, 2015 7:46 am
K Kamaraj, Kamaraj113th birth anniversary, Kamaraj BJP, congress, bjp, sardar patel, b r ambedkar, India latest news Union minister M Venkaiah Naidu in Madurai on Wednesday; the Kamaraj function was in Virudd hnagar village. (Source: PTI)

Having already flustered the Congress with its efforts to appropriate Sardar Patel and B R Ambedkar, the BJP has set out to claim the legacy of yet another historically revered Congress figure, Tamil Nadu’s K Kamaraj.

Keen on spreading its wings and emerging an alternative in Tamil Nadu, the BJP organised a function to commemorate Kamaraj’s 113th birth anniversary on Wednesday in in Viruddhnagar, his birthplace. BJP chief Amit Shah had been expected to attend the programme but could not because he had to meet party chief ministers who were in Delhi.

The BJP has stressed that there is “nothing political” in the party’s decision to honour the former Tamil Nadu chief minister and former Congress president. Union minister M Venkaiah Naidu, who attended the function on Wednesday, made it clear, however, how keenly the party wants to make Kamaraj its own. He described how upset Kamaraj had been with the imposition of Emergency by Indira Gandhi.

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“Kamaraj was so upset with the imposition of Emergency in June 1975 that he is reported to have wept and said, ‘Yellam pochu, yen thappu (everything is lost, it’s my mistake)’,” Naidu told the audience. According to Naidu, Indira’s decision has “upset Kamaraj so much that he died a few months later, in October that year.”

Naidu described the Congress leader, widely known as a kingmaker because of the role attributed to him in the elevation of Lal Bahadur Shastri and Indira Gandhi as successive prime ministers, as an “embodiment of morality, integrity and high values besides being a reformer”. Naidu said the present generation of politicians should draw inspiration from his life and works. “It is our collective responsibility to take forward his legacy,” he said.

The BJP’s move to honour Kamaraj comes amid a contest for the legacy of Ambedkar, with both the Congress and the BJP launching separate plans to celebrate the Dalit leader’s birth 125th birth anniversary, apparently targeting his massive following among the Scheduled Castes.

BJP general secretary P Muralidhar Rao, in charge of the party organisation in Tamil Nadu, said the party’s move cannot be seen as vote-bank politics. “Kamaraj is a national icon and his thinking was always of a nationalist. The Congress has not done anything to honour his legacy outside Delhi,” he said. “The Congress cannot claim that he is an asset of the party. We want to appreciate his contribution and it’s not a political fight.”

The Congress sought to make light of the BJP’s effort. “It is good that the BJP has started honouring the contribution of national leaders including Mahatma Gandhi,” Congress spokesperson R P N Singh said.

Even the RSS, the ideological parent of the BJP, has initiated efforts to invoke national leaders outside of its pantheon, a move that is considered part of an attempt to help the BJP gain acceptance across all sections of society.

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  1. r
    raj5151235
    Jul 16, 2015 at 9:04 am
    Good move....
    Reply
    1. r
      raj5151235
      Jul 16, 2015 at 9:05 am
      only losers will complain
      Reply
      1. R
        Raj
        Jul 16, 2015 at 7:37 am
        I saw the comparison between Modi and the Great Kamaraj. It is the greatest joke I have heard in the recent times. Where is King Maker and Modi... I think it is becoming ridiculous for BJP ministers - to say everything great about Modi and Venkaya Naidu is no exception. There is no way BJP can be linked with Kamaraj. BJP ideology is different when Kamaraj was alive and the King maker knows this. Just that BJP is tyring to steal everything from Congress using is opportunity.
        Reply
        1. J
          Jon D
          Jul 16, 2015 at 7:29 am
          What is the commonality between Mahatma hi and today's nakli his ? CONgress has demonstrated that linking the party to old illustrious leaders helps their fortunes. BJP is just taking a leaf out of the playbook of Congress !
          Reply
          1. N
            narayan
            Jul 16, 2015 at 2:57 pm
            Late Kamaraj was a astute politician. his clever moves had made Indira to become prime minister.he died untimely due to betrayal of congress party.
            Reply
            1. R
              Rajiv Pande
              Jul 18, 2015 at 3:18 am
              For 65 yrs the govt has felicitated only Nehru hi family. Now if BJP wants to give due credit to non hi people, what objection does this writer have? Perhaps, like the Congress, he only wants Nehru- hi people to be celebrated.
              Reply
              1. R
                Rajiv Pande
                Jul 16, 2015 at 9:28 am
                The le of this article is highly suggestive and not factual
                Reply
                1. C
                  Chandran
                  Jul 18, 2015 at 6:08 am
                  Are these great men property of some group or party? Why Congress feels bad when their discarded leaders are praised by BJP. Congress ballads have only the real hi, Nehru, and other hies. It is heartening to see forgotten great Indians are rememberd with pride.
                  Reply
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