The BJP may have taken up the Ram Setu issue to expand its influence in the four southern states, but so far, the controversy has failed to strike an emotional chord among the people in these four states.
The response to the nationwide protest on Wednesday was disappointing everywhere. Even earlier agitations by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Uma Bharati’s Bharatiya Janshakti Party in Tamil Nadu were damp squibs.
Kerala's BJP state president PK Krishnadas naturally claimed on Wednesday's blockade had been a runaway success. “We did not get enough time to organise. Still the turnout was really good. It is a matter of faith of crores of Hindus,” he said.
But even some of those leading the protests did not quite know what they were protesting about. “I heard it is all about the demolition of a bridge,” said PK Chandran, an active VHP worker in Thiruvanthapuram. “I'm not fully aware,” he admitted.
In Karnataka, where the BJP is part of the ruling coalition, protests were witnessed in many parts of the north and the coastal regions, which are strongholds of the party. Agitators blocked the tracks of the Chennai-Mysore Shatabdi Express near Bangalore for about an hour. But even BJP workers admitted that they are presently much more concerned about the forthcoming urban local bodies polls on September 28 than whether Rama’s vanar sena (monkey army) actually built a bridge of stones between India and Sri Lanka.
Meanwhile, AIADMK chief J Jayalalithaa on Thursday moved the Supreme Court seeking a direction to the government to declare Ram Setu/Adam’s bridge a national monument.
In a petition filed with the SC before the Friday’s hearing on the case, Jayalalithaa said due to its antiquity and unique features, Ram Setu should be treated as a World Heritage Site.