Chennai: Former Telecom Minister and DMK deputy general secretary A Raja was on Sunday booked by the Central Crime Branch police in Chennai on a complaint alleging that he had made disparaging remarks questioning AIADMK leader and Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami’s “birth”.
In a related development, Palaniswami turned emotional during electioneering in Chennai while recalling Raja’s remarks.
Raja was charged under Section 294 of the Indian Penal Code among other provisions based on a video clip of his speech that has been widely circulated by AIADMK and BJP cadres since Friday night.
In the short video clip, Raja is heard comparing DMK president M K Stalin as a “healthy” child born of legitimate relationship, and Palaniswami born “illegitimately” and “preterm”. As the issue snowballed into a controversy in an election season, Stalin called upon his party functionaries to maintain “dignity” in public forums without giving room to opponents to “twist” and exploit their remarks.
Raja has since contended that he had only made a comparison of the two “political persons” and not indulged in personal attack. In the full video of his speech, available on YouTube, Raja is heard hailing Stalin as someone who had politically grown stage to stage in the DMK as well as in governance holding various posts. “Therefore our leader Stalin is a healthy child born of a legitimate relationship,” he is heard saying. As for Palaniswami, he alleged that he was publicly a non-entity till former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa’s death and then became Chief Minister “crawling at Sasikala’s feet” and thereafter Prime Minister Narendra Modi held him up. “That is why I say Palaniswami is a preterm baby born out of an illegitimate relationship,” he is heard saying.
On Sunday, women cadres of the AIADMK staged a protest at different places demanding action against Raja for insulting the Chief Minister’s mother.
Palaniswami turned emotional, saying “I am being attacked like this because I am an ordinary man who has become the Chief Minister. Raja has demeaned my mother. They are doing this when I am Chief Minister. Tomorrow if they (DMK) come to power, women will be ill-treated.”