Former Union Telecom Minister, Lok Sabha Member from Nilgiri, DMK’s Deputy General Secretary A Raja again stirred a controversy by making castiest remarks against his opponents.
2G scam fame Raja is known for his abusive and uncouth remarks against Hindus, Hindutva and political opponents including Prime Minister, BJP and RSS.
The by-election to Erode East assembly constituency has become a battle turf for the DMK and AIADMK with high pitched no stone unturned campaigns. It is almost war of words rather than battle for seat. The DMK has given it to its ally Congress following sudden demise of sitting MLA Thirumagan Everra who is a grand-son of EV Ramaswamy Naickar (Periyar). Now his father and former Union minister EVKS Elangovan is contesting.
The ruling DMK is making an all out efforts to retain the seat as it views it is a referendum to its nearly two and half years rule. It has roped in its senior leaders to campaign for their alliance candidate EVKS Elangovan of the Congress party. The entire Tamil Nadu cabinet is burning a lot of midnight oil to strategies to win and for campaigning activities. AIADMK feels a win in the election, cashing in on the anti-establishment mood of the voters and proves its might over the rival OPS faction to retail party name and symbol. Also it is attempt to gain upper hand in dealing with the BJP in the ensuing 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
A Raja was canvassing votes for the candidate on the evening of Sunday (19 Fenruary 2023) when he made casteist remarks targeting AIADMK and BJP leaders belonging to a particular caste. Reacting to the opposition to erect pen statue for DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi, while addressing a meeting in at ‘Periyar Nagar’ in Erode, the DMK MP said “They say that Edappadi Palaniswami has studied till BA. Vanathi Srinivasan has studied law.
Annamalai became IPS. That pen (Karunanidhi’s pen) put you under the Backward Class category and made you study. If not for that pen, Annamalai would’ve reared goats. Edappadi Palaniswami would be doing labour. Vanathi Srinivasan would be picking coconuts in some coconut farm.” He is trying to say without reservation none would rose to top level or get uplifted.
AIADMK Leader and Tamil Nadu Leader of Opposition Edappadi K. Palaniswami, BJP National Mahila Wing President and MLA Vanathi Srinivasan and Tamil Nadu BJP President K. Annamalai are all belong to the dominant Kongu Vellala Gounder community.
DMK MP Raja’s recent speech is being seen as a casteist remark against the Gounder community. It is to be noted that Raja, who allegedly belongs to the Scheduled Caste community, is believed to be a practicing Christian as images of his wife’s funeral showed the rites being done in accordance with the Christian faith and his rabid utterances criticising Hindus, their culture and Gods and his strong support and praise for Christianity.
In Erode east constituency, Gounders, Mudaliars and in considerable number who are traditional AIADMK vote bank. DMK , it seems, want to create rift by using divide and rule to get more votes. It is sure of winning the by poll with its unwavering minority votes which is a huge chunk.
During the 2021 Assembly election campaign A. Raja attacked Edappadi K. Palaniswami by saying “Edappadi Palaniswami was born premature, and was born out of an illegitimate relationship.” while hailing his leaded MK Stalin.
In last year August 19, Karthikeya Sivasenapathy, the secretary of DMK’s Environment wing, took to twitter to belittle Annamalai saying that while Dravidian ideology gave him education and made him an IPS officer, BJP made him graze sheep. Annamalai comes from a middle class agricultural family who rears cattle as a part of their lifestyle. He had also tried to make him feel insulted through his tweets claiming that if not for reservation brought by DMK in TN and by Mandal commission at national level, he couldn’t have become an IPS officer.
However Twitter users dug out data and pointed out that Annamalai had scored high marks and wasn’t dependent on quota to get education or to pass the UPSC exam. In fact he was the best performer of his batch of IPS cadre and got the privilege to speak at Rashtrapati Bhavan in front of the then President Pranab Mukherjee.
This is not the first time that A Raja has made personal remarks against political opponents in the heat of election campaign.
In September 16 2022, Raja. said Shudras were denied equality, education, employment, and entry into temples by Manusmriti. He said “(According to Manusmrithi), a Shudra is the son of a prostitute and he is a Panchaman (Dalit) till he is a Panchaman (Dalit) till he remains a Hindu. One remains an untouchable till he is a Hindu. How many of you wish to stay as children of prostitutes? How many of you wish to remain untouchables?”
“I haven’t seen any religion like this. Lingayats in Karnataka are petitioning the Supreme Court saying that their way of worship and religious principles are different. They are asking themselves not to be declared Hindu. But what is the Supreme Court saying? The Supreme Court is saying that if you aren’t a Christian, Muslim, or Persian, you have to be a Hindu. Is there any other country having such cruelty?” Raja said.
He also said “ an inch of an idol of God and Hinduism are there, we can’t root out Hinduism from this soil. So our priority is to attack them “
In January this year, A Raja, who was the special guest at the 157th anniversary function of Kunnoor Anthoniyaar School, Nilgiri District, said: “When we talk about education in India, it becomes a popular topic in today’s political environment. Credits should be given to the British for making education available to even the ordinary people, when it had been denied for 3,000 years. Schools founded by Christian organisations continue to teach about our history. Many questioned why heshould praise a religion in front of school students of various faiths.