BJP red-faced as slumdweller poster shows Dalit writer Perumal Murugan

The Delhi BJP’s ‘Jhuggi Samman Yatra’ gained unwanted attention as a photograph of noted Tamil author Perumal Murugan inadvertently made it to the posters of the outreach campaign in the city’s slums, following which the party issued an apology.

Many social media users flagged the appearance of Murugan’s photo on the campaign posters including one put up at the stage from where BJP president J P Nadda addressed the closing ceremony of the outreach programme in Anand Parbat area of the city on Monday.

The posters carrying an image of Murugan were used across assembly constituency and were also shared on Twitter by the Delhi BJP.

When contacted, Delhi BJP spokesperson Praveen Shankar Kapoor said the author’s photograph was used inadvertently.

“The design was provided to us by a vendor and the photo was inadvertently used. If this faux pas has hurt Shri Perumal Murugan’s sentiments, we apologise,” Kapoor said.

In the poster, Murugan’s picture was shown among a group of people apparently meant to represent slum-dwellers.

Murugan is a Tamil author who has written a number of novels, short stories and poems.

Attaching the picture of the poster containing his photograph, he said in a social media post that that he was happy as he belong to the slums. “I belong to the slums. Delighted!” he wrote on his Facebook page in Tamil and English.

The Jhuggi Samman Yatra campaign was launched by the Delhi BJP in October, ahead of municipal corporation polls early next year to tap voters of JJ clusters.

It was aimed at covering 33 assembly segments till November 29 (Monday) with an aim to reach out to residents of slum colonies in the national capital.

The famed author of contemporary Tamil literature, Murugan has garnered both critical acclaim and commercial success for his vast array of work.

Murugan had gone into a self-imposed literary exile in 2014 after he was threatened by protests from Hindutva activists against his Tamil novel Madhorubagan (One Part Woman), which they deemed offensive.

A dismayed Murugan had announced in a Facebook post in December 2014 that the writer in him was dead.

He ended his literary exile in 2016 with a new book — a collection of 200 poems A Coward’s Song.

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