Ilaiyaraaja’s praise for the prime minister in a book foreword has drawn flak with trolls calling him a ‘Sanghi’. The BJP has jumped to the musician’s defence
Music maestro Ilaiyaraaja has kicked up a storm for praising Prime Minister Narendra Modi and comparing him to Dr BR Ambedkar. He has faced backlash online with many trolls branding him “Sanghi” and earned the ire of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) political rivals.
What did Ilaiyaraaja say?
In a foreword to a new book titled Ambedkar & Modi — Reformer’s Ideas, Performer’s Implementation, Ilayaraja wrote, “Both these striking personalities succeeded against odds that people from socially disempowered sections of the society face. Both saw poverty and stifling social structures from close quarters and worked to dismantle them, but both are also practical men who believe in action rather than mere thought exercises.”
“Pro-women legislation such as the banning of triple talaq and the rise in sex ratio due to the historic ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’ movement, which has brought in social transformation, is something that Dr BR Ambedkar would have been proud of,” he added.
The foreword led to speculation that the BJP is likely to nominate the Tamil Nadu composer to the Rajya Sabha, reports The Indian Express. Now Ilaiyaraaja has come under fire from rivals of the party.
What are BJP’s political opponents saying?
In a tweet, Congress leader Karti Chidambaram said, “I have immense personal respect for Isai Ganani #Ilayaraja, his comparison of #Modi with #DrBabasahebAmbedkar is wholly inappropriate as he is equating a person who has thrown all constitutional norms and propriety with the scholar who was instrumental in framing our constitution.”
I have immense personal respect for Isai Ganani #Ilayaraja, his comparison of #Modi with #DrBabasahebAmbedkar is wholly inappropriate as he is equating a person who has thrown all constitutional norms & propriety with the scholar who was instrumental in framing our constitution.
— Karti P Chidambaram (@KartiPC) April 18, 2022
“The social reforms mooted by #Ambedkar are in stark contrast to the poisonous venom injected by #Modi into society,” the Congress MP from Tamil Nadu added. Telangana governor Dr Tamilisai Soundararajan came out in support of Ilaiyaraaja, tweeting that his “expression from bottom of his heart saying #Modifullfillsambedkardreams is welcome”.
Music Celebrity iconic legend Thiru. @ilaiyaraaja is the pride of TamilNadu & India. His expression from bottom of his heart saying #Modifullfillsambedkardreams is Welcome. as it reflects million brilliant fair minds (1/3) — Dr Tamilisai Soundararajan (@DrTamilisaiGuv) April 17, 2022
What is the BJP’s defence?
The war of words continued with the BJP coming out in support of the musician.
Tamil Nadu unit BJP president K Annamalai, posted party chief JP Nadda’s letter on his Twitter handle.
Without naming Ilaiyaraaja, Nadda wrote, “In Tamil Nadu, elements aligned to the ruling party in the State have left no stone unturned in verbally lynching, smearing and humiliating one of India’s tallest music maestro just because he has views not palatable to one political party and their allies. Is this democratic? One can have different views and yet co-exist happily but why take to insults?”
He has highlighted the shameful political drama all the opposition parties of our country had gotten into.
His letter is translated into Tamil for our reading .👇. pic.twitter.com/xwcCgsPJhF
— K.Annamalai (@annamalai_k) April 18, 2022
“What crime did Ilayaraja commit,” asked former state BJP chief and Union minister L Murugan, adding that the “DMK-led attacks” were anti-Dalit and anti-Constitutional as the Constitution ensures freedom of speech.
He said that the great musician has mentioned how Modi’s initiatives have ushered in social change in the foreword which is a reality.
The ruling Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam has said that no one from the party has expressed any opinion on the maestro’s comment on the prime minister. The DMK is also not inclined to spell out any view on the matter, said party MP and organising secretary R S Bharathi in a statement. He warned Murugan not to drag the DMK into the controversy.
Ilaiyaraaja’s BJP connection
A source close to the Ilaiyaraaja camp, requesting anonymity, told The Indian Express that Left-liberal groups calling the musician a “Sanghi” were cruel and added that he had no political ambition.
Gangai Amaran, Ilaiyaraaja’s younger brother and noted Tamil film music director and popular lyricist, joined the BJP in 2017.
Meanwhile, Ilaiyaraaja’s son Yuvan Raja (Yuvan Shankar Raja) wrote in an Instagram post said he is a “Dark Dravidian, Proud Tamizhan”, a remark seen by some as a stand against the right-wing, reports PTI.
With inputs from agencies
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