The Bharatiya Janata Party’s recent tirades against film-maker Kamal and litterateur MT Vasudevan Nair, both from Kerala, for criticising the government and the Sangh Parivar are a good indicator of its political strategy in the state, where it is determined to increase its cadre base.
On January 9, the BJP’s state general secretary AN Radhakrishnan said Kamal should leave India if he is not interested in living in the country. The statement was prompted by the director’s criticism of the arrest of 12 people at the International Film Festival of Kerala in Thiruvananthapuram in December, for not standing up during the playing of the national anthem before movie screenings. The Supreme Court had in November directed cinema halls to play the national anthem before each screening and said the audience must stand up for the duration of the song. Sangh activists had also marched to Kamal’s house in Kodungalloor in Thrissur district last month, singing the national anthem and targeting his Muslim identity by expanding his name to Kamaluddin. He is also critisized by the Sangh Parivar for his biopic 'Aami', which tells the story of Kamala Surayya.