A day after former Telecom Minister A Raja made certain remarks loaded with insinuation about Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami’s “birth”, the AIADMK submitted a complaint to the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) seeking action against him. A group of AIADMK cadres staged a demonstration in Chennai seeking Mr Raja’s arrest unless he tendered an apology.
On Saturday, Mr Raja sought to explain that he had made the remarks in political context and not personally.
DMK president M.K. Stalin issued an appeal to party functionaries to maintain dignity in their utterances and not provide room “for the attempts of the opponents to twist their words” in their bid to defeat the DMK electorally.
C. Thirumaran, AIADMK advocate wing joint secretary, in a petition to the CEO said Mr Raja’s comment were “vulgar” and “third-rated”. Alleging that Mr. Raja had made similar remarks in the past against the CM, for which a case was registered by the police in Chennai, he sought registration of a case for election-related offences and debar the DMK deputy general secretary from campaigning further in this election.
Mr. Raja, however, claimed his speech was misinterpreted. He said that he respected Mr. Palaniswami as CM and would never intend to insult or demean him.
Mr. Raja told journalists that his speech referring Mr. Stalin as a “healthy child” and Mr. Palaniswami as as an “illicitly” born “preterm” baby was an allusion to their political careers and did not refer to their personal lives.
“I was comparing them as children of politics. Hence, referred Mr. Stalin as a healthy child as he evolved as a leader by gradually growing up from being a district representative, member of the general and executive councils, youth wing secretary, MLA, Mayor and Deputy Chief Minister. Mr. Palaniswami, on the other hand, was not elected by the people to be the CM. He became the CM through shortcut by falling at the feet of Ms. Sasikala (aide of late CM Jayalalithaa) and hence made the reference,” he contended.
Claiming that select portion of his speech were cut and pasted “to twist” his words, he claimed that, apart from political criticisms, he would never stoop to the level of personally insulting or disgracing the CM.
Mr. Stalin, in a social media post, said that both victory and the path taken for the victory were important and the party would not tolerate lack of dignity.
Recollecting DMK founder C.N. Annadurai’s advice to party people to have the three traits of duty, dignity and discipline, Mr. Stalin said that dignity must be of foremost importance for the party speakers.
He said that opponents, who already failed in similar attempts, were again trying to cut, paste and twist the words of those from DMK in their fear of losing the elections.
PMK founder S Ramadoss criticised Mr Raja’s comments saying they were disgusting.
‘Dindigul’ I. Leoni of DMK also recently received flak for his remarks on women during a campaign in Coimbatore district.