DMK MP RS Bharathi
DMK MP RS Bharathi
Video screengrab

DMK MP RS Bharathi has waded into a controversy by comparing TV media houses and journalists to those in "Mumbai red light area", alleging money was their primary concern.

With the Chennai Press Club and comments on the social media criticising him, Bharathi expressed regret for his statement after being prompted by DMK Chief MK Stalin to do so, though he said he had "made a fair comment" while speaking on the party employing political strategist Prashant Kishor.

In a video that went viral on Monday, the DMK Rajya MP is heard questioning why the media had made a matter of debate, his party roping in Kishor and purportedly questions the rationale behind it discussing Stalin and his family's visits to religious places.

The DMK had earlier roped in Kishor's Indian Political Action Committee to help shape its campaign for the Tamil Nadu assembly elections next year.

In the video, Bharathi is heard saying Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had also used Kishor's services, but questioned why that had not been debated in the media.

The TV channels were making an issue out of Kishor joining hands with the DMK out of "frustration," he purportedly says in the video.

Hitting out at TV media houses, he said "they are running their company like Mumbai red light area," alleging money was their primary concern.

"There is (also) a debate whether Thalapathy (Stalin) went to temple or not, whether those from his house did or not. Is that important for the country," he asked.

With his remarks not going down well with many, including those in the social media, the veteran leader expressed regret, saying Stalin had asked him to do so.

"A wrong debate was happening in media as if DMK had been pawned to him (Kishor). There are so many issues (to be debated)..he had worked for Modi, Kejriwal..but some media made a big issue when he joined hands with the DMK," Bharathi later told reporters.

"I gave a fair comment that this looked like the act of some people working in red light area. But my intention is not to hurt anyone, any media house.

Our leader (Stalin) came to know and asked me to express regret and I also realised that it was a mistake. So I express regret," he added.

Earlier, responding strongly to Bharathi's comments, Chennai Press Club Joint Secretary Bharathy Tamizhan said instances of targeting journalists and media were on the rise.

"The Chennai Press Club strongly condemns the lowly remarks made by senior politician Bharathi, who also holds the DMK Organising Secretary post," he said in a statement and urged DMK chief M K Stalin to reprimand such acts.

He welcomed constructive criticism against the media.

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