Monday, 3 October, 2022
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Delhi BJP uses Tamil writer Perumal Murugan’s photo to ‘show slum residents’ in outreach drive

The mistake was spotted on promotional material for the Delhi BJP's Jhuggi Samman Yatra campaign, held across slums in the city.

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New Delhi: The Delhi BJP included a photograph of eminent Tamil writer Perumal Murugan, among a group of faces that were seemingly meant to be representative of the national capital’s slum dwellers. The mistake was spotted on promotional material for the Delhi BJP’s Jhuggi Samman Yatra campaign, held across slums in the city, to educate residents about the benefits of central government schemes meant for them.

The month-and-a-half-long drive concluded with a two-day campaign in Patel Nagar over Monday and Tuesday. The poster with Murugan’s photo was part of the event at Patel Nagar Monday, which were addressed by BJP National President J.P. Nadda and Delhi BJP president Adesh Gupta.

The poster had also been shared on Twitter through the Delhi BJP’s official handle.

A BJP leader was quoted by The Indian Express as admitting to the mistake. In a Facebook post, Murugan said, “Being one of the huts. Happy happy happy. I belong to the slums. Delighted.”

ThePrint reached Delhi BJP President Adesh Gupta over the phone, but he refused to comment on the matter. ThePrint also reached BJP Delhi vice-president Virendra Sachdeva, BJP Delhi spokesperson Harish Khurana and BJP Delhi vice-president Ashok Goel over phone, but none of them commented on the matter.

While Sachdeva and Khurana said Goel was the event organiser and therefore the one to speak on this, he too refused comment.

Also read: How BJP plans to corner rivals, make mark in opposition-ruled Maharashtra, Delhi & Chhattisgarh

‘Will check with design team’

Murugan has written six novels and four collections each of short stories and poetry. The 55-year-old author is known for works such as Poonachi or The Story of a Black Goat and Madhorubhagan or One Part Woman. Most of his books focus on social oppression and the subjugation of the weak.

His 2014 work, Madhorubhagan, revolving around the theme of childlessness and the extent to which a couple is pushed by society to have a child, sparked an outrage with many Right-wing groups, including the BJP and the RSS, seeking a ban on it for allegedly depicting the Kailasanathar in Tamil Nadu’s Tiruchengode in bad light.

The book had fetched Murugan the ILF Samanvay Bhasha Samman in 2015.

While the author gave up writing for a while, following the protests, he made a comeback with Poonachi in 2018.

Talking to The Indian Express about the poster fiasco, a BJP leader reportedly said, “As per procedure, an original photograph from a previous BJP programme or rally should have been used, instead of such a photograph whose source is not known”.

The newspaper quoted BJP Delhi vice-president Rajan Tiwari as having said that they “will check with the design team about what happened”.

(Edited by Poulomi Banerjee)

Also read: BJP confident TMC & AAP will split votes in Goa, but its own alliance plans are up in the air


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