Campaigning for the Tamil Nadu Assembly election sank to a new low on Friday, after DMK leader Udhayanidhi Stalin – who is party boss MK Stalin’s son – allegedly said that the late Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley died because they were “unable to tolerate pressure by PM Modi”.
The comment, coming days after another DMK leader – former Union Minister A Raja – was served a notice by the Election Commission for crass remarks about Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami, has a furious BJP up in arms; they have demanded action against the younger Stalin.
The children of Ms Swaraj and Mr Jaitley – who served as the External Affairs and Finance Ministers – have slammed Udhayanidhi Stalin for disrespecting their parents’ memories.
“Udhayanidhi Stalinji… please do not use my mother’s memory for your poll propaganda! Your statements are false! PM Modi bestowed utmost respect and honour on my mother. In our darkest hour PM and party stood by us rock solid! Your statement has hurt us,” Bansuri Swaraj tweeted.
@udhaystalin ji please do not use my Mother’s memory for your poll propaganda! Your statements are false! PM @Narendramodi ji bestowed utmost respect and honour on my Mother. In our darkest hour PM and Party stood by us rock solid! Your statement has hurt us @mkstalin@BJP4India
— Bansuri Swaraj (@BansuriSwaraj) April 1, 2021
“Udhayanidhi Stalinji… I know there is election pressure – but I won’t stay silent when you lie and disrespect my father’s memory. Dad and Shri Narendra Modiji shared a special bond that was beyond politics. I pray you are lucky enough to know such friendship,” Sonali Jaitley Bakshshi said.
.@Udhaystalin ji, I know there is election pressure – but I won’t stay silent when you lie & disrespect my father’s memory.
— Sonali Jaitley Bakhshi (@sonalijaitley) April 1, 2021
The comment that sparked controversy was: “Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley died (because they were) unable to tolerate the pressure and torture given by Prime Minister Modi”.
A BJP delegation led by Union Minister Prakash Javadekar met poll body officials in Delhi to lodge a complaint, and demand that action be taken against the younger Stalin.
“In Tamil Nadu DMK leader MK Stalin’s son tweeted… it is a very bad tweet. Such bad language about Arun Jaitley and Sushma Swaraj… they had medical problems and a painful death… and now this is being politicised? This is wrong… we demand Election Commission take action,” Mr Javadekar was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
The Tamil Nadu unit of the BJP has asked for Udhayanidhi Stalin to be banned from campaigning.
Tamil Nadu votes in a single phase on April 6, with votes to be counted on May 2.
The BJP has renewed ties with the ruling AIADMK – with whom they allied but slumped to a massive defeat in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections; the AIADMK won one of 39 seats and the BJP none.
Against them is the DMK-Congress combine that won the remaining 38 seats, but which seems to have shot itself in its feet over the past few days.
On Tuesday DMK Deputy General Secretary A Raja was issued a notice over his comments about Chief Minister Palaniswami and his birth.
“The Commission is of the view that the contents of speeches 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 the Model Code of Conduct,” the notice read.