Can Stalin's intervention in Udhayanidhi's anti-Hindu remarks save INDIA bloc?

Niraj Sharma
17 Sep 2023
M K Stalin INDIA Alliance

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin (File image)

New Delhi: Days after chest-thumping by Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam on strong support to anti-Hindu comments by its minister Udhayanidhi, a virtual climb down by Tamil Nadu chief minister M K Stalin may have come too late for saving the INDIA bloc.


For the sake of its 40-odd Lok Sabha seats and retaining power in Tamil Nadu, the DMK has made its alliance partners virtual prisoners of these anti-Hindu comments.  

The opposition bloc is now seemingly trapped on more than 400 Lok Sabha seats, dominated by the majority Hindu community, where the Bharatiya Janata Party is likely to make it an emotive issue. And, the saffron party is unwilling to let go of the issue and is fanning it to be widely utilized during campaigns for the forthcoming Assembly polls, apart from being used in next year’s Lok Sabha polls.

It is learnt that the climb down by the DMK supremo came after an SOS by Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and other leaders from the Hindi heartland who expressed their fears regarding the comments. Most of these leaders believed that it would be very difficult for them to hurt the sentiments of their primary vote bank, which comprises Hindu nationalistic masses.


Following this urgent outreach, Tamil Nadu CM Stalin has asked DMK leaders to avoid falling for the BJP’s diversionary tactics of raking up the Sanatan Dharma issue, triggered by his son and cabinet colleague Udhayanidhi’s remarks.

Earlier the DMK had strongly backed Udhayanidhi’s comments and stuck by him. However, the outreach by several INDIA bloc partnership leaders seems to have ensured a turnaround in the Dravidian party’s stance.

However, this step may be too little too late as the Bharatiya Janata Party has begun laying its trap to put the entire INDIA bloc into the dock for these comments.


The trailer for the things in store for the opposition was unveiled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at his rally in Madhya Pradesh’ Bina this week where he said that the INDIA bloc alliance wants to destroy Sanatan Dharma which inspired Mahatma Gandhi to start a movement against untouchability.

Earlier this month, Udhayanidhi Stalin’s comments about “Sanatana Dharma” stating “Sanatana is like malaria and dengue and so it must be eradicated and not opposed" and the support of DMK scion’s controversial comments by Priyank Kharge, son of Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge, had left many regional INDIA allies red-faced.

It was pointed out that the opposition has been unable to keep the focus on issues like unemployment, inflation, Manipur violence, and the Adani controversy and has allowed the Narendra Modi government to go scot-free. While at the same time handing over an emotive and possibly election-altering anti-Hindu remarks issue to the saffron front, sources said.

Several INDIA bloc parties, including the Congress, Trinamool Congress, Shiv Sena (Uddhav Thackeray) and Nationalist Congress Party (Sharad Pawar) have been targeted by the BJP as anti-Hindu, ever since the remarks by Udhayanidhi.

These anti-Hindu rants have already shown the potential to derail the entire political and strategic plan of the INDIA bloc, creating deep fissures within the alliance partners over strategy on important political issues. The opposition needs to fine-tune and probably secure another major political issue against the BJP if it wants to disrupt the reelection bid of PM Modi in 2024.