Udhayanidhi hits back, says PM and co using Sanatana controversy to divert attention

Udhayanidhi said that the DMK respects all religions which teach that all lives are born equal. “But without an iota of understanding about any of these, Thiru Modi and Co are solely dependent on such slander..”
Udhayanidhi Stalin
Udhayanidhi Stalin
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A day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi instructed his cabinet colleagues to give a “proper response” to the comments made by Tamil Nadu’s Youth Development and Sports Welfare Minister Udhayanidhi Stalin on Sanatana Dharma, the DMK leader has hit back at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying that he has been using the Sanatana Dharma controversy to divert the attention of the people from pressing issues like CAG report and Manipur violence. 

“Thiru. Modi and Co. are using the Sanatana ploy to divert the attention from the facts including the killing of more than 250 people in the riots incited in Manipur and the 7.5 lakh crore corruption,” Udhayanidhi said in his 3-page long statement issued on Thursday, September 7.

Attacking the Prime Minister for not providing any accountability for the irregularities mentioned in the CAG report, he said, “Union Prime Minister Thiru. Modi claims the money he raised for Covid through ‘PM cares’ need not be accounted for. He is neither responding to CAG's questions on the Rs 7.5 lakh crore. Afraid of having to face questions about Manipur in India, he is globe- trotting along with his friend Adani. The fact is, the ignorance of the people is the capital of their theatrical politics,” Udhayanidhi alleged.

Questioning the BJP-led union government on their welfare schemes, he asked whether the Modi government introduced any progressive scheme like ‘Pudhumai Penn’ (providing Rs 1000 per month to girl students to facilitate their higher education) scheme for girl students, or the breakfast scheme in the last nine years. “ Have they built the AIIMS in Madurai? Did they take forward any knowledge movement like the Kalaignar centenary library?” he asked.

Clarifying his comments on Sanatana Dharma, he said, “I am one of the political heirs of Annadurai, the founder of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam. Everyone knows that we are not enemies of any religion. I would like to quote Anna's comment on religions which remains relevant even today. ‘If a religion leads people towards equality and teaches them fraternity, then I too am a spiritualist. If a religion divides people in the name of castes, if it teaches them untouchability and slavery, I would be the first person to oppose the religion.”

Udhayanidhi said that the DMK respects all religions which teach that all lives are born equal. “But without an iota of understanding about any of these, Thiru Modi and Co. are solely dependent on such slanders to face the Parliamentary elections. On the one hand, I can only feel sorry for them. For the last 9 years, Modi has been doing nothing. Occasionally he demonetizes money, builds wall to hide huts, builds new Parliamentary building, erects a Sengol there, plays around by changing the name of the country, standing at border and making the white flag work.”

Udhayanidhi also mounted his attack on Opposition leader Edappadi Palaniswami. “You have been looking in the books stacked safely inside your house for the meaning of Sanatanam. You can't hide yourself long in the goat's beard hoping to escape the Kodanad murder-robbery and corruption cases. Remember what will happen to you when the goat disappears one day.” The goat’s beard reference is to the Governor. DMK’s founder and former TN CM, CN Annadurai had once famously said that a Governor’s post is as useless as a goat’s beard. 

Alleging that Edappadi was being controlled by Modi,  he wrote, “Since he is being controlled by them, Thiru Edappadi Palaniswami is dancing to all their tunes. ‘One nation and one election, let's do it,’ ‘Are you changing the name to Bharath, please go ahead’ - and thus he is staging the Modi drama here.” 

A huge controversy erupted following Udhayanidhi’s comments to eradicate Sanatana Dharma on September 2 at the Annihilation of Sanatana Dharma conclave. Equating Sanatana Dharma with Mosquitoes and diseases like Malaria and dengue, the Minister said that Sanatana Dharma should be abolished. 

The Minister’s speech was distorted by the BJP as calling for a genocide against followers of Sanatana Dharma. Udhayanidhi said that his speech was deliberately misinterpreted by the BJP as they have not delivered any of the welfare promises, he claimed. “For the last 9 years, all your (BJP) promises are empty promises. What have you exactly done for our welfare?" is a question currently being raised in unison by the entire country against an unarmed, fascist BJP government. It is in this background that the BJP leaders have twisted my speech at the TNPWAA conference as 'inciting genocide',” the DMK leader said.

“They consider it a weapon to protect themselves. What is surprising is the Ministers of the Union government like Thiru. Amit Shah and the Chief Minister of States ruled by the BJP demanding action against me based on fake news. In all fairness, I should be the one filing criminal cases and other court cases against them for spreading slander while holding respectable positions. But I am aware that this is their mode of survival. They don't know how else to survive, so I decided not to do that.”

The Minister’s comments have been receiving severe backlash from the Hindu Right-Wing groups. Mahant Paramdas Dass, a seer from Uttar Pradesh even announced a bounty of Rs 10 crore on Udhayanidhi

Responding to this, the Minister said, “What surprises me more than the price on my head is how can someone who claimed to have renounced everything have Rs 10 crore.” 

An FIR is also registered against Udhayanidhi in Uttar Pradesh for allegedly “promoting enmity” and “hurting religious sentiments.”

In response to this, the DMK cadres have been filing cases against the seers and indulging in effigy burning of the seer. Asking the cadre to refrain from this, Udhayanidhi said that he will face the case legally. “I request our cadres to not be involved in works that waste our time like filing cases against the seers, or burning his effigies. I would like to inform that I will face the cases filed against me legally with the guidance of our party president and on the advice of our party high command,” he further noted.

He also urged the cadres to resolve to work for the victory of the ideology of Periyar, Anna, Kalaignar and Perasiriyar K Anbazhagan. 

Udhayanidhi concluded the statement by thanking the organisers of Annihilation of Sanatana conference for bringing awareness on Sanatana Dharma and the cause it espouses a talking point at the national level.

Read: Udhayanidhi Stalin’s comments on Sanatana Dharma stoke huge row

Watch:  Udhayanidhi says Sanatana Dharma should be eradicated, triggers row

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