The Election Commission of India (ECI) on Thursday pulled up Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) leader A Raja for derogatory comments against Tamil Nadu chief minister Edappadi Palaniswami. The commission said that Raja violated the provisions of the model code of conduct and barred him from campaigning for the next 48 hours.
He has also been delisted from the list of “star campaigners” of the DMK.
Raja made a controversial remark on chief minister K Palaniswami’s mother during an election rally on Saturday and was served a show-cause notice by the poll body on Tuesday. Seeking Raja’s reply, the ECI said that it is of the view that the “contents of the speech made by you are not only derogatory, but also obscene and lower the dignity of motherhood of women, which seems to be a serious violation of the provisions of Model Code of Conduct”.
“The commission has given you an opportunity to explain your position in this regard on or before 6 pm on March 31, failing which the Commission shall take a decision without any further reference to you,” it said.
Responding to the EC, Raja said he has been “falsely accused of making derogatory comments”. The former Union telecom minister said that he had not spoken anything “obscene” or which would lower the dignity of women and motherhood.
Raja maintained that his speech was not violative of the model code of conduct or any other law in his reply to the EC.
But the ECI did not find Raja’s “interim explanation” satisfactory and took the action against him. It has also advised the politician to be “watchful” and not to make indecent and derogatory remarks.
The DMK leader’s comment was slammed by the leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) which is fighting elections in Tamil Nadu with Palaniswami’s AIADMK. The BJP said Raja’s remarks were vulgar and insulted the mothers and sisters across the country.
Union home minister Amit Shah also hit out at the DMK over the issue, saying it showed the party had no regard for women.
“I saw the statement by DMK leader A Raja. The kind of statement he made against a deceased woman. I think they (DMK) have no regard for women and want to win this election by hook or crook,” he said.