DMK leader A Raja, on Wednesday, responded to the Election Commission of India’s interim notice over his alleged remarks against Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami. On Monday, Tamil Nadu Chief Electoral Officer Satyabrata Sahoo had sent a detailed report on A Raja's alleged remarks, for action. In his response, A Raja denied making any “derogatory or defamatory speeches” against the Chief Minister. He also denied that he made any speech that would “demean or defame women or motherhood.”
The controversy pertains to a comment made by A Raja during campaigning for the DMK at Thousand Lights constituency last week. Comparing DMK chief MK Stalin and EPS, he said the CM had a “premature” birth. Listing out Stalin growth as a leader over a period of 23 years, A Raja said, “That’s why in the villages I say that if Stalin is a healthy baby born out of a ‘rightful’ marriage, Edappadi Palaniswami is a premature baby born out of an illicit affair in politics.”
Defending his remarks, A Raja said that AIADMK and BJP had “falsely propagated” that he insulted Palaniswami. He also said in his explanation to the notice that he had “not spoken anything that is violative of the Model Code of Conduct, which is obscene or which will lower the dignity of mother or women, much less any other provision of law.”
He also denied receiving a copy of the complaint dated March 27, mentioned by the AIADMK and said that because of this, he doesn’t know what is alleged against him. He asked the Commission to give him a copy of the same. Raja said that a “thorough and unbiased investigation” will reveal that he was “falsely accused of making derogatory comments.”
After A Raja’s remarks went viral, Edappadi Palaniswami got emotional at a rally about the statement, and said, “If a Chief Minister is disrespected like this, what would happen to common people if the likes of Raja comes to power or if DMK wins in the upcoming Assembly elections in the state.” He added that the statement is not only against his mother but against every mother and that people who speak in a derogatory manner about women must learn a lesson.
On March 28, the Central Crime Branch (CCB) of the Chennai City Police booked A Raja for his comments under three sections, including 294 (b) (causing nuisance in public places) and 153 (provocation with intent to cause riot) of the Indian Penal Code.
Raja apologised to Palaniswami on March 29, saying he did not mean to hurt the CM’s sentiments. He also said that his speech was cut short and misrepresented for political motives.
On Tuesday, the Tamil Nadi CEO sent a report on the matter to the Election Commission of India, which included a video clip and action taken by the district election officer (DEO) and Superintendent of Police against the DMK leader. Sahoo was responding to a question by reporters on the AIADMK’s complaint, asking for Raja to be debarred from campaigning for his alleged unsavoury remarks against the Chief Minister and his mother.