The BJP’s Tamil Nadu unit on Tuesday triggered a controversy with a tweet on Dravidian ideologue E V Ramasamy, popularly known as Periyar, on his 46th death anniversary.
Posting a photograph of Periyar with his wife Maniammai (they got married when he was 69 and she was 31), the party’s state unit tweeted from its official handle: “Today is the death anniversary of Maniammai’s father Periyar. Let us support the death penalty for people who sexually assault children and take the pledge that we will create a society without any POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences) accused”.
The party’s IT wing (@tnbjpitwing) retweeted the photograph and the comment. Both the state party unit and its IT wing later deleted the tweet.
But the damage was done, as many, including BJP’s allies AIADMK and PMK, condemned the tweet and criticised the party.
DMK MP Kanimozhi said Periyar had worked tirelessly to build a society that encourages women’s rights, and the BJP was unaware of women’s rights and civilisation.
DMK leader M K Stalin tweeted that the BJP could have given some thought before putting out a demeaning post about Periyar. “Let that fear be there. Periyar is giving jitters even after his death. Will AIADMK pounce like a tiger on this issue? Or will it hide like an earthworm?” he said.
“The official handle of BJP has put out something which I cannot say out in the open. They should tender a public apology for dishonoring Periyar with a false accusation. I never thought they would stoop this low,” said MDMK leader Vaiko.
“BJP and their IT wing’s post about Periyar on his anniversary is disgusting. This shows their jaundiced eyes. This is strongly condemnable,” said PMK founder S Ramadoss.
“Tamil Nadu is Dravidian land, we will not accept if someone talks ill about Periyar or Maniammai. On behalf of Dravidar Kazhagam, we will condemn whoever speaks ill about great leaders like Periyar, Anna, MGR and Kalaignar,” said AIADMK leader and state minister Sellur K Raju.
Speaking to reporters, Nirmal Kumar, BJP state president, IT & social media, said: “We removed the tweet after our party leaders and allies requested. We haven’t posted anything new. DMK leaders like Anna, Kalaignar have said similar things when they formed their own party.”