‘Is Kiran Bedi a man or a woman?' Nanjil Sampath’s transphobic remark during campaign

Nanjil Sampath, a political orator who was campaigning for the Congress in Puducherry, also said that Kiran Bedi had been “castrated” in Delhi.
‘Is Kiran Bedi a man or a woman?' Nanjil Sampath’s transphobic remark during campaign
‘Is Kiran Bedi a man or a woman?' Nanjil Sampath’s transphobic remark during campaign
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Transphobia and misogyny were on display in Puducherry when political orator Nanjil Sampath made derogatory comments against Lieutenant Governor Kiran Bedi on Wednesday. The former AIADMK politician, who has been out of active politics for the past year, is now campaigning for the DMK-led Secular Progressive Alliance in the run up to the Lok Sabha Elections.  

On Wednesday, Sampath was campaigning in Puducherry for former Chief Minister and Congress’s Lok Sabha candidate for the Union Territory V Vaithilingam.  While slamming the Lieutenant Governor for being a ‘BJP Governor’, Nanjil Sampath went on to make transphobic slurs against Kiran Bedi. He mistakenly refers to Kiran Bedi as the economic fugitive Nirav Modi and after being corrected, goes on his transphobic tirade against the Lieutenant Governor.  “There are BJP governors in 21 states in India. Here one woman, Nirav Modi, we don’t know if it is a man or a woman. (the man from behind corrects Sampath and whispers in his ears that it is Kiran Bedi).. Kiran Bedi. What atrocity is she doing? I am asking, are you a constitutional authority? Were you chosen by the people? After being castrated in Delhi, should you be sent to Pondicherry?” he said.

The men standing behind Sampath on the campaign vehicle smile at his transphobic remarks, as he continues his verbal onslaught. Referring to her alleged obstruction of Puducherry Chief Minister Narayanasamy’s welfare schemes from being implemented, Nanjil Sampath said, “Is this the job of a Governor? A Purohit for Tamil Nadu, a Kiran Bedi for Pondicherry. Extra constitutional authority in 21 states. Is this called democracy?”

V Vaithilingam, however, wasn’t present during Narayanasamy’s speech. He is the former Speaker of Puducherry Legislative Assembly and former Chief Minister of Puducherry was picked by the Congress as the candidate for Puducherry parliamentary seat. He filed his nomination for the elections on March 22.

Nanjil Sampath’s transphobic remarks comes just days after the DMK suspended Radha Ravi for his sexist comments against actor Nayantara. Many on social media are now asking if Nanjil Sampath would be asked to stop campaigning for the DMK-Congress alliance in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry.

This is not the first time Nanjil Sampath has been embroiled in controversy. He was sacked from AIADMK in 2016, after an interview he gave to a Tamil news channel, in which he came down heavily on Vaiko’s MDMK and also made insensitive remarks about the floods in Chennai during December 2015.

Nanjil Sampath made his foray into politics by joining the DMK, only to walk out in 1993 with Vaiko, when the latter launched the MDMK. He was the Propaganda Secretary and the Deputy General Secretary of MDMK till 2012, when he quit MDMK and joined AIADMK. He was sacked in 2016 by former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, after he made controversial comments in a TV interview. He then formally quit the party and announced his retirement from politics in January 2017, days after the death of Jayalalithaa only to return to AIADMK merely four days after his retirement.

After the split of AIADMK, he was a part of the Sasikala faction of the party and was an active supporter of TTV Dhinakaran. He announced his retirement from politics in 2018, the same time TTV Dhinakaran launched the Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam, over the name of the party. He then met DMK President MK Stalin during the latter’s birthday celebration and announced that he would campaign for the DMK for the upcoming elections.

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