Sanatana Dharma Remark Row: ‘BJP twisting my statement’, Udhayanidhi Stalin

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Sanatana Dharma : triggered a political debate, the Tamil Nadu minister on Sunday accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of twisting his statement and spreading fake news. Speaking to media persons as quoted by ANI, the son of Tamil Nadu CM MK Stalin said, “I am saying again that I only criticized Sanatana Dharma and that Sanatana Dharma should be abolished.”

Udhayanidhi is a well-known Tamil film actor and producer, and joined active politics ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections when he was appointed a secretary of the DMK’s youth wing. The 45-year-old contested his first election in 2021 from Chennai’s Chepauk-Thiruvallikeni constituency, which is one of the DMK’s safest Assembly seats. A year later, he joined the state Cabinet.

At the time, many in the party were not surprised by his elevation. A senior leader recalled Udhayanidhi’s campaign tours during the 2019 general elections, when he “travelled the state with just a ‘single brick’ (brandishing it as proof of the unfinished work on AIIMS-Madurai, under the AIADMK-BJP government)”. The DMK won 24 of Tamil Nadu’s 39 Lok Sabha seats with a 32.8% vote share.

Udhayanidhi and ‘Maamannan’

Now, Udhayanidhi is also a star attraction of the DMK’s social media handles, which often feature visuals of the Karunanidhi family scion visiting slums in his constituency, particularly during the rainy and flood-prone seasons. In June, a movie starring Udhayanidhi became the talking point as it tackled the question of caste and its place in Dravidian politics. Produced by Red Giant, a production house linked to the DMK’s first family, Maamannan was directed by acclaimed filmmaker Mari Selvaraj. It shed light on the caste prejudices within Dravidian parties, particularly in the Kongu region of western Tamil Nadu.

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