Just hours after BJP leader H Raja threatened to break statues of Dravidian ideologue 'Periyar' EV Ramasamy, it seems to have already happened - but in a bizarre way. Two drunk men have been arrested in northern Tami Nadu's Tirupattur for allegedly vandalising doing exactly what Raja had threatened. While one is believed to be a BJP worker, his unlikely bedfellow is believed to be from the CPI.
Just as the BJP may have some ideological divergences from the rationalist Periyar, so too the Communists. Among other things, the Indian Left has long complained that Periyar and his Dravidian politics focused too much on caste. But to think that these two from opposite ends of the political spectrum could come together to attack his statue could possibly be explained only by saying either that they were drunk or that politics had nothing to do with it.
Police identified the two men as Muthuraman and Francis. Muthuraman is believed to the be the BJP worker, while Francis is a CPI activist. Their common motivation is unclear.
The statue they attack was a bust of Periyar, the likes of which can be regularly found in villages and towns across Tamil Nadu.
Earlier in the day, BJP national secretary H Raja had once again waded into controversy. A post on his verified Facebook page raised the razing of a statue of Lenin in Tripura, and warned that soon, statues of Periyar would be razed in Tamil Nadu.
The vitriolic was soon deleted, but not before it sparked strong reactions on social media, and from Tamil Nadu's political class, for many of whom Periyar is a giant icon.