As the Tamil Nadu BJP unit is all set to kickstart month-long Vel Yatra campaign beginning November 6, the Tamil Nadu government has put a spanner in the works by submitting in the Madras High Court that it can’t allow it in view of restrictions against public gatherings due to Covid-19.
Public Interest Litigations against the much-publicised Yatra were taken up by the court today. The Madras High Court is yet to deliver an order on the PILs. One of the petitioners cited the ongoing pandemic as the reason to obtain a stay on BJP’s Vel Yatra, slated between Tiruttani to Tiruchendur, and added that he had sent a representation to the Home Secretary and the DGP on October 31 seeking directions.
Interestingly, the Edappadi Palaniswami-led Tamil Nadu government had also frowned upon a BJP-led attempt to hold processions during the Vinayagar Chaturthi festival. Palaniswami had remained unmoved to his ally’s requests, even after party’s state president L Murugan made a personal request.
The BJP’s advocate questioned the Tamil Nadu government’s decision to reject permission for its planned campaign, adding that the Centre has not prohibited religious gatherings owing to the pandemic and maintained that such gatherings should follow social distancing protocol. The advocate added that Tamil Nadu is allowing theatres, educational institutions to reopen next week but denying permission for BJP’s Vel Yatra.
Political observers say the AIADMK’s hard-nosed stances towards the BJP on many issues, particularly those sensitive to religious sentiments, cannot be taken as a sign of fissure between the two alliance parties. The AIADMK and BJP continue to remain friendly with each other, and the possibility of their going to polls as partners remain distinct, despite such open disagreements on politically sensitive issues, say election strategists.