It couldn't get more interesting than this. When one South Indian state – Karnataka – has taken a strong stand against Hindi with no less than its chief minister asking the central government to erase Hindi signs from the metro railway stations in Bengaluru, its neighbour Kerala has taken a completely reverse stand.
On Wednesday, August 9, the chief minister's office of Kerala tweeted an advertisement titled "What Makes Kerala No. 1" citing various factors that have made the southern state advance and what is interesting with that post is that it is written in Hindi.
CM Pinarayi Vijayan's Gandhigiri on historic August 9?
The government has stressed on issues like "good law and order situation", "communal harmony", "highest per capita income", "most safe environment" etc. as the hallmark of its administrative work in the post and there is no doubt that on August 9, the historic day which marked the 75th anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi's Quit India Movement, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan took a leaf out of the Mahatma's book to settle a score with the saffron rivals.
Kerala of late has made the headlines because of the endless bloodshed caused by the clashes between the Left and BJP/RSS and the top leaders from both the CPI(M)-led Left Democratic Front (LDF) government in the state and BJP at the Centre have crossed swords over the political violence. The ideological incompatibility of the two camps have been manifested through gruesome murders of supporters of both sides and one suspects the Vijayan government in the state is a tad apprehensive about the growing clout of the BJP across the country and the Left about possibility of losing yet another state in the future.
Is Left in Kerala apprehensive and hence the ploy to win Hindi hearts?
But amid the tension which has been fuelled more by the remark by Union minister Arun Jaitley who said political killings in Kerala increase during the rule of the LDF and the BJP's plan to mobilise its top leaders to the state, the move by the Vijayan government to post a Hindi campaign in its favour is unique.
It is a clear ploy to reach out to the Hindi-speaking people by the Kerala government to dilute the support base of the BJP.
Even MP from traditional opponent Congress is happy
Even Shashi Tharoor, the parliamentarian from the Left's traditional opponents in the state – Congress – was impressed by the CMO's tweet. He called the "outreach" by the Kerala chief minister to the Hindi speakers as "interesting" and praised the CMO for it. The Congress MP, through this, also played his part to consolidate the anti-BJP sentiments in the state.
Kerala's embracing the same language that Karnataka has rejected makes politics in India unique. Such chalk-and-cheese stands also depend on the state's current political situation. Kerala went to polls last year and its LDF government still has four years to serve in the office.
Continuing political violence and the failure to curb it could put the Left government under a serious anti-incumbency challenge and threat from the BJP in the days to come and hence, the touch of harmony which the BJP cannot oppose.
In Karnataka, on the other hand, the ruling Congress is fuelling sub-nationalism a year ahead of the elections for it knows the BJP can't raise objection to it or else, it would lose local support. Now, will Siddaramaiah be happy with Tharoor's response? Or has politics threatened the unity of South India?
Politics is a funny game. It's the end that matters the most and not the means.