'The misinformation campaign that spread panic among migrant north Indian workers and triggered an exodus originated in Tamil Nadu.'
First the peddling of fake news on Hindi-speaking migrants by its counterpart in Bihar and then the resignation of its IT Cell chief has left the BJP Tamil Nadu unit in a spot.
In an exclusive interview with South First, Tamil Nadu BJP vice-president Narayanan Thirupathy said that the party condemned fake news, even when it came from its own Bihar unit.
He, however, added that fake news that triggered panic among migrant north Indian workers originated in Tamil Nadu.
A day later, Chennai police’s Central Crime Branch booked the BJP’s state chief K Annamalai for launching “false propaganda” against the state government.
A case was also registered against the administrators of BJP’s Bihar unit’s Twitter handle.
“For the past two years, leaders like T Velmurugan, Naam Tamilar chief coordinator Seeman, and several DMK leaders such as Dayanidhi Maran and ministers have been abusing and degrading Hindi-speaking migrant workers as panipoori-walas and roti-walas,” the BJP leader told South First.
“This kind of hatred against these people is the root cause of the issue,” he claimed.
Thirupathy further alleged that DMK-funded YouTube channels were continuously spewing venom at North Indian migrant workers.
“DMK played a major role in triggering the issue that sparked panic and an exodus,” he alleged.
He claimed that his party condemned all those who spread fake news, including the BJP’s Bihar unit, which, too, peddled false information.
Thirupathy claimed the police were inactive. The Tamil Nadu police, who are now acting, should have initiated action when a similar issue happened in Tiruppur three months ago, he said.
“We had then cautioned the Tamil Nadu police, but they did not listen to us. Now, they are taking action after the mass exodus of migrants has started,” he claimed.
Thirupathy further said that the BJP units in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh had been alerted.
“We spoke to our Bihar and Uttar Pradesh counterparts regarding the fake news being spread and raised our concerns. We also told them not to peddle fake news without verifying,” he said.
On the BJP engaging in a blame game with the DMK, Thirupathy accused the ruling party of applying double standards while dealing with the migrants.
“The North Indian migrant workers are helping us in creating infrastructure. So we should take care of them, but the government has failed in doing so,” he said.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, it was Chief Minister MK Stalin who termed the migrant North Indian workers the architects of Tamil Nadu, but later he said that the land was only for Tamils. “It shows the DMK’s double standard,” the BJP leader alleged.
On Annamalai daring the Tamil Nadu police to arrest him within 24 hours, Thirupathy alleged that most media houses in Tamil Nadu were biased against him.
“The police are harassing Annamalai by filing an FIR against him for raising questions about the migrants’ welfare. There is nothing wrong in challenging the police when they are filing a fabricated case against him,” he said.
Thirupathy also opined that the state president of BJP’s IT wing, CTR Nirmal Kumar, joining the AIADMK would not affect his party’s ties with the latter.
“Several AIADMK leaders and functionaries joined BJP in the past, and anyone is free to join any party. There is no problem and it will not affect the alliance,” he added.