Campaign Starts Ahead of Assembly Elections: BJP Leader Takes Dig at Kanimozhi Over Language Row

Campaign Starts Ahead of Assembly Elections: BJP Leader Takes Dig at Kanimozhi Over Language Row

In an apparent dig at DMK MP Kanimozhi after her allegation that a CISF officer has asked her if she was an Indian as she did not know Hindi, senior BJP leader B L Santhosh on Sunday said "campaign starts" for Tamil Nadu assembly elections.

Tamil Nadu Assembly election is slated to be held in the first half of next year.

"Assembly elections are eight months away... Campaign starts," Santhosh, the BJP general secretary (organisation), said on Twitter.

His tweet was in response to Kanimozhi's tweet in which she said, "Today at the airport a CISF officer asked me if 'I am an Indian' when I asked her to speak to me in Tamil or English as I did not know Hindi."

The DMK MP, who is also the party's women's wing secretary, used the hashtag of "Hindi imposition". According to party sources, the incident occurred in Chennai when the MP was at the airport to board a Delhi-bound flight on Sunday afternoon.

Congress MP Manickam Tagore, who is also from Tamil Nadu, accused Santhosh of "arrogance".

"This arrogance will be costlier Santosh Avere! When CISF officers does a mistake & when the force is ready to acknowledge the mistake by a person why you make it as BJP Vs DMK (sic), when someone asks you in Bengaluru airport whether you're a Indian? What you will do?" Tagore tweeted.

Santhosh then responded, "Nandri Vanakkum. CISF has asked her to give details. Let her give the details. Action will follow. Let's discuss about arrogance at that time."

BJP's rivals, especially those in southern India, have often accused it of working to impose Hindi on the region. The BJP has denied the charge and insisted that it stands for encouraging all Indian languages.

Kanimozhi had also tweeted, "I would like to know from when being Indian is equal to knowing Hindi."

Soon after, the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) sought details from her.

"Warm greetings from CISF. We sincerely acknowledge your unpleasant experience. Kindly DM journey details; name of airport, location, date, and time of the incident for appropriate action in the matter," tweeted the force whose task primarily is to guard civil airports in the country and vital infrastructure in the aerospace and nuclear domain.

Soon, the CISF said it has "ordered an enquiry into the matter. It is not the policy of CISF to insist upon any particular language.