Since past election results indicated that the BJP was an anathema for many voters in the state.
The latest political razzmatazz at Rameswaram, an otherwise serene coastal pilgrim town, marking Union home minister Amit Shah flagging off a party yatra is a pointer to the present situation in the BJP, indicating a missionary zeal to convert Tamil Nadu. The southern state that had been totally insouciant to the phenomenal growth and spread of the party in most parts of the country has suddenly turned into a definite target for conversion. Of course, the BJP is not aiming at capturing the fancy of the entire population and making them toe the Hindutva line. It just wants to win a handful of seats in the next Lok Sabha elections, particularly the Ramanathapuram constituency for Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Since past election results indicated that the BJP was an anathema for many voters in the state, where it could occasionally win a seat here and there when it was in alliance with a major regional party from the Dravidian stock, the BJP had written off the state as incorrigible. But the present leadership wants to at least alter the dominant political mindset by gaining some acceptability that perhaps could be turned into a gateway for a later-day blitzkrieg. What was once given up as mission impossible, has gained a new impetus.
The BJP might not desperately require the support of a state that sends only 39 representatives to the 543-member Lok Sabha in government formation or any decision making, but the latest desire to bring it into its fold is primarily borne out of a new sense of hope. The party that has been hitherto pushing for a place under the electoral sun in vain would like to make it a shove hoping that would take it forward. It hopes to convert Ramanathapuram constituency, under which comes the mythical Rameswaram, into another Varanasi, politically.
Capturing Ramanathapuram would enhance BJP’s acceptability in the whole of Tamil Nadu and help dispel the popular notion elsewhere that setting foot in Dravidian heartland can only be a daydream. But, going by its present plan of action, even if it pulls it off in Ramanathapuram, it will be only due to the grace of a Dravidian major and not the individual charisma of Narendra Modi or the ideology of the BJP. Yet the BJP could tell the world that it had captured Tamil Nadu that was playing truant, thus creating a chimera of Mr Modi representing Tamil Nadu in Parliament and in government and thus making a bid to change the character of communal and cultural fountainheads.
That it may also open the floodgates for BJP to storm in and capture the wider imagination of the people who are abhorring it now is the fond hope that has led to the creation of the hype and hoopla. The party also nurses the hope that, by interacting with minority leaders, they could sweep the entire minority vote bank. But it's the reluctance of top leaders of its alliance parties to share the stage at Rameswaram that points to the BJP having not yet shed its ‘untouchable’ image completely in Tamil Nadu.