Karur (Tamil Nadu) [India], December 4 (ANI): In possibly his first reaction on a public forum to the controversy around his earlier rant against 'Sanatanam' (Sanatan Dharma), DMK leader and Tamil Nadu minister Udhayanidhi Stalin, on Sunday, claimed that the BJP-led central government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi "twisted, magnified and made the whole country talk about" his remarks.
The secretary of the DMK's youth wing, Udhayanidhi reacted to the furore over his earlier remarks at the meeting of the party's youth cadre in the Karur district on Sunday.
Invoking the row over his commentary on Sanatan Dharma, which he equated with "mosquitoes, dengue, malaria, fever, and corona" that need to be 'eradicated' and not merely opposed, Udhayanidhi said, "Prime Minister Narendra Modi, which campaigning for the elections in Madhya Pradesh, brought up my speech and spoke about me. He said I had called for genocide (of followers of Sanatan Dharma). He accused me of saying things that I did not.""I was attending a conference (in Chennai) and spoke only for three minutes. All that I said was that everyone should be treated equally and not be discriminated against, and, that any attempts at discrimination must be eradicated. But they (BJP) twisted my comment, magnified it and made the whole country talk about me," the DMK leader said.
"Some seers announced a bounty of 5-10 crore on my head. The matter is currently in court and I have full faith in the law. I was asked to tender an apology for my remarks. But I said I couldn't apologise. I said that I am Stalin's son, grandson of the Kalaignar and I was only articulating the ideology espoused by them," the state minister for Sports and Youth Affairs added.
The son of Chief Minister MK Stalin, Udhayanidhi stoked a major controversy after he stated that Sanatana Dharma is incompatible with the concept of social justice and should be 'eliminated'.
"Sanatana is like malaria and dengue and so it must be eradicated rather than opposed," Udhayanidhi said at the event in Chennai.
Udhayanidhi drew severe backlash over his comment on social media, with many calling for legal action against the minister.
He later took to his official handle on X (formerly Twitter) to post, "Bring it on. I am ready to face any legal challenge. We will not be cowed down by such usual saffron threats."Hitting out at Udhayanidhi, Prime Minister Modi sought a "proper response" to his remarks.
However, CM Stalin jumped to his son's defence saying that it was 'unfair' for PM Modi to "make comments without knowing what Udhayanidhi spoke" on Sanatana Dharma.
"It is disheartening to hear from the national media that the PM mentioned that Udhayanidhi's remarks need a proper response during a meeting of his council of ministers. The Prime Minister has access to all the resources to verify any claim or report. So, is the Prime Minister speaking unaware of the lies spread about Udhayanidhi, or does he do so knowingly?" the CM posted from his official X handle.
He further accused BJP leaders of spreading a false narrative and alleging that his son called for the genocide of people harbouring and propagating Sanatan thoughts.
Udhyanidhi, too, released a statement earlier, clarifying his Sanatan remarks and accusing BJP leaders of twisting his speech as 'inciting genocide', saying that they were using it as a weapon to protect themselves.
Sharing a four-page letter on X, Udhayanidhi posted, "Let us resolve to work for the victory of the ideologies of Periyar, Anna, Kalaignar and Perasiriyar. Let Social Justice flourish forever.""It is in this background that the BJP leaders have twisted my speech at the TNPWAA conference as 'inciting genocide'. They consider it a weapon to protect themselves. What is surprising is the Ministers of the Union government like Thiru. Amit Shah and Chief Minister of states ruled by the BJP demanding action against me based on fake news."Udhayanidhi was booked under Section 153A and 295A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) over his remarks against Sanatan Dharma on a complaint by advocates in Rampur, Uttar Pradesh, in September.
Congress leader and Karnataka minister Priyank Kharge was also booked under the same sections for allegedly endorsing the DMK leader's remarks. (ANI)