Chennai: Stirring up a controversy, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) MP RS Bharathi on Monday compared journalists to those "working in red light areas", saying they do "anything and everything for money".
In a four-minute video clip that has gone viral, Bharathi can be heard saying: "I am silent because I am in this party post of organising secretary. These journalists don't have a job. They only blame us. (Arvind) Kejriwal used Prashant Kishor, Narendra Modi used him and many others used him. But they discuss only when the DMK is using him and now it has become a debate. I say it openly that these TV journalists are real scoundrels. They run debates like red-light area in Mumbai. They do anything for money. 'Thalapathy' (MK Stalin) goes to temples, but that doesn't become a debate, people in his house go to a temple, they discuss it. Is it very important for the country?"
Since the DMK's announcement that political strategist Prashant Kishor will work with it for the 2021 Tamil Nadu Assembly elections, caste politics has again started playing out in the state. The state unit of the BJP referred to a 'Brahmin' (Kishor) helping the DMK when the party's ideology is itself anti-Brahmin.
The video is said to have been shot on Saturday at an event held by the Kalaignar Readers' Circle in the DMK Youth Wing headquarters of Anbagam in Chennai, where Bharathi gave a speech about the significance of the Dravidian movement. He credited the Dravidian movement for making Tamil Nadu "the best state in the country". Later on in the speech, he went on to claim that the appointment of Dalits as High Court judges was because of the "alms" given by the Dravidian movement.
"No 'Harijan' (a term used to describe Dalits) has become the judge of the High Court in Madhya Pradesh. But in Tamil Nadu, after Kalaignar became the chief minister, A Varadarajan (became the first Dalit judge in Madras High Court). After him, around seven or eight from the Adi Dravidar community became judges in the High Court. This was alms given by the Dravidian movement," Bharathi was quoted as saying.
After his speech went viral on social media, the lawmaker expressed regret for his remarks.
"I understand that some words I spoke at an event organised by Kalaignar Readers' Circle has hurt the sentiments of the oppressed persons. I express regret for that. My intention was not to hurt them, but to just highlight the good things Kalaignar has done for them," he said in a tweet on Monday.