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Twist to BJP vs TN Minister row, man at centre of it quits party to join DMK

Twist to BJP vs TN Minister row, man at centre of it quits party to join DMK

Published:14 August 2022

In a dramatic twist to the incident involving hurling of the footwear on the car of Thiaga Rajan and the brief commotion that unfolded on August 13 in Madurai, Saravanan called on the Minister at his residence in Tamil Nadu's southern city late Saturday night and apologised to him. Saravanan gave ample indications that he would be returning to the DMK.

Chennai | The BJP on Sunday expelled its Madurai-based functionary P Saravanan, who had an argument with Tamil Nadu Finance Minister Palanivel Thiaga Rajan over the footwear-flinging episode in the backdrop of paying last respects to a slain soldier. 
In a dramatic twist to the incident involving hurling of the footwear on the car of Thiaga Rajan and the brief commotion that unfolded on August 13 in Madurai, Saravanan called on the Minister at his residence in Tamil Nadu's southern city late Saturday night and apologised to him. Saravanan gave ample indications that he would be returning to the DMK.
Saravanan, the Madurai District president of the BJP, was with the DMK before he joined the saffron party.
The background to this fresh episode involves Saravanan and BJP workers. On August 13, Saravanan had said that while he and other BJP workers were waiting to pay homage to rifleman D Lakshmanan who laid down his life for the nation, Thiaga Rajan asked them what 'locus standi' they had to visit the spot where all arrangements were in place to pay floral tributes to the departed soldier.
Saravanan had said that he replied to the Minister that being an Indian is enough to pay homage. During a press meet, Saravanan had alleged that the Minister was haughty and he had demanded that Thiaga Rajan be dropped from the Cabinet. He had demanded that the Minister should convey his regret.
While this was the status till Saturday evening, Saravanan later visited the Minister at midnight, apologised to him and said he was resigning from the BJP. Saravanan told reporters that the saffron party was doing 'religious politics' and also 'politics of hate.' Peace of mind is important, he said.
Saravanan said he took the Minister's remark 'personally'. He said he had misunderstood Thiaga Rajan's view. The fact was that the Minister was only referring to the protocol aspect, he said. Thiaga Rajan's remark should have been contextualised for correct understanding and not doing that was a mistake, he said.
The saffron party announced that Saravanan is expelled from the party's primary membership for indiscipline. Tamil Nadu BJP vice-president Narayanan Tirupathi told PTI that Saravanan could have been intimidated by the ruling DMK.
On his Twitter handle, Palanivel Thiaga Rajan posted a picture of a sandal hurled on his car and said he would have more to say about the incident later. From that image, it is clear that the sandal was a woman's footwear. Describing the woman, suspected to have thrown it as 'Cinderella', the Minister said she could take it back if she wanted.
Posting picture's of the homage ceremony, Rajan tweeted, 'Spot the odd man out'. A couple of pictures show BJP Tamil Nadu chief K Annamalai paying homage and the presence of the media crew. "It should be clear now why I said we should adhere to protocol & avoid such publicity-seeking scenes, and why I decline to engage in debates with such people," Rajan said.
In Madurai, while the Minister was returning after paying homage on Saturday, a sandal landed on his car's bonnet from a crowd of BJP workers and supporters. Thiaga Rajan was heckled and slogans were raised and briefly, there was commotion. Police personnel chased the BJP supporters away. The saffron party denounced the act and said it was unacceptable.
Lakshmanan, a resident of T Pudupatti village in Madurai district, was among the army personnel killed in a terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir's Rajouri on Thursday. His mortal remains reached Madurai on August 13 for the last rites. The Minister, officials and Annamalai paid tributes to the departed soldier.


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