Chennai: Under attack from the AIADMK over his 'are-you-a-man' comment on Deputy Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam he had made on Sunday, Tughlak editor S. Gurumurthy has now backtracked saying he never meant any insult to OPS, for whom he has the greatest regard as "he only saved the party from Sasikala". He had only spoken about "the subservient attitude of AIADMK members falling at Sasikala's feet" and OPS knows it, Gurumurthy tweeted trying to douse the AIADMK anger triggered by his comment made during the magazine's 50th anniversary celebration at Tiruchy on Sunday.
At that well-attended function, Gurumurthy had claimed that OPS had gone to him in despair after being told by the Sasikala group to go and supervise the arrangements for the swearing-in of Sasikala as Chief Minister soon after Jayalalithaa's demise in December 2016. "OPS was told to supervise the arrangements, see if the place was clean, etc. He came to me. I cannot go into detail on the manner I had spoken to him. I asked him if he was a man. He asked me what else he could do. I told him to go and sit at (Jayalalithaa's) samadhi and he would get some idea", Gurumurthy had said.
The video of his speech has gone viral and prompted AIADMK senior D Jayakumar come out with swords drawn.
“This is the height of arrogance. He must control his tongue. You are already aware he had tried to attack the AIADMK and faced the repercussions”, Jayakumar told reporters on Monday morning. He also said Gurumurthy had tried to attack the AIADMK even earlier, only to end up facing hard repercussions.
The minister's attack has forced Gurumurthy on the back foot and he came out with a clarification saying he had not meant any disrespect to OPS. “I know very few people in the AIADMK and of them all, I have the greatest regard for OPS, not withstanding our differences “, said the RSS ideologue, considered pretty close to the BJP top leadership, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah.
Gurumurthy regretted that people were attacking him by presenting only a portion of his speech and this was “not a dignified behaviour”. He said it was he who had got OPS to revolt against the Sasikala group and launched his revolt (dharmayudham) squatting at Jayalalithaa's samadhi after meeting him (on February 7, 2017). And later, it was he who brought together the OPS faction of the AIADMK and the group led by Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami. He would get “at least ten people from the AIADMK coming to request him to do something (to unify the two factions)”, Gurumurthy claimed.
At the Tiruchy meet, the Tughlak editor also slammed the DMK as the main impediment to development in Tamil Nadu, saying no positive development was possible as long as family rule prevails. But then, he also attacked the AIADMK on the corruption plank.
“The AIADMK is the lesser evil compared to the DMK, but then, we cannot accept Edappadi Palaniswami and the corruption of a group...the difference between the two parties is not corruption, it is about who is indulging in it”corruption,” he had said. Needless to say, that criticism from Modi's man has left many an AIADMK functionary fuming.