Under intense attack from the BJP over his alleged anti-Sanatan Dharma remarks, DMK leader and Tamil Nadu Minister Udhayanidhi Stalin on Thursday accused the saffron party leaders of "twisting" his statements and vowed to face all cases in this connection legally.
He also launched a strident attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying he was "globe-trotting", afraid of facing questions over the Manipur violence.
"For the last 9 years, all your (BJP) promises are empty promises. What have you exactly done for our welfare is a question currently being raised in unison by the entire country against an unarmed, fascist BJP government. It is in this background that the BJP leaders have twisted my speech at the TNPWAA conference as 'inciting genocide'. They consider it a weapon to protect themselves," he said.
What is surprising is that those like Union Minister Amit Shah and Chief Ministers of BJP-ruled states were demanding action against him based on "fake news," Udhayanidhi said.
"In all fairness, I should be the one filing criminal cases and other court cases against them for spreading slander while holding respectable positions. But I am aware that this is their mode of survival. They don't know how else to survive, so I decided not to do that," he said.
He was one of the political heirs of Dravidian stalwart, the late CN Annadurai, the founder of the DMK. "Everyone knows that we are not enemies of any religion."
"I would like to quote Anna's comment on religions which remains relevant even today. If a religion leads people towards equality and teaches them fraternity, then I too am a spiritualist. If a religion divides people in the name of castes, if it teaches them untouchability and slavery, I would be the first person to oppose religion," he said quoting Annadurai.
He said DMK respects all religions that teach all lives are born equal.
"But without an iota of understanding about any of these, Thiru Modi and Co are solely dependent on such slanders to face the Parliamentary elections. On the one hand, I can only feel sorry for them. For the last 9 years, Modi has been doing nothing. Occasionally he demonetises money, builds wall to hide huts, builds new Parliamentary building, erects a Sengol (scepter) there, plays around by changing the name of the country, standing at border and making the white flag work," he lashed out.
Has there been any progressive scheme from the Union government in the last nine years like the DMK's "Pudhumai Penn" or the Chief Minister's breakfast scheme or the Kalaignar's women's rights scheme, he asked. "Have they built the AIIMS in Madurai? Did they take forward any knowledge movement like the Kalaignar centenary library."
"Afraid of having to face questions about Manipur in India, he is globe-trotting along with his friend Adani. The fact is, the ignorance of the people is the capital of their theatrical politics."
"Thiru Modi and co are using the Sanatana ploy to divert the attention from the facts including the killing of more than 250 people in the riots incited in Manipur and the Rs 7.5 lakh crore corruption," he charged.
There was a lot of work for the party workers, including preparing for the 2024 Lok Sabha polls, he said and asked them to focus on that.
"I would like to inform that I will face the cases filed against me legally with the guidance of our party president (TN CM MK Stalin) and on the advice of our party high command," he added.