Slipper thrown at TN minister’s car: Madurai BJP chief expelled from party

Saravanan gave ample indications that he would be returning to the DMK. He had told reporters that the Saffron party was doing religious politics and also politics of hate. He said peace of mind is important

P Saravanan
Saravanan said he took the minister's remark personally. He said he had misunderstood Thiaga Rajan's views. Photo: Twitter/ANI

The BJP on Sunday (August 14) expelled its Madurai-based functionary P Saravanan who had an argument with Tamil Nadu Finance Minister Palanivel Thiaga Rajan.

In a dramatic twist to the incident involving the hurling of 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 on Saturday (August 13) 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.

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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 conference, 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 (August 13) 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.

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Saravanan said he took the minister’s remark personally. He said he had misunderstood Thiaga Rajan’s views. 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, Thiaga Rajan posted a picture of a sandal hurled at his car and said he will have more to say about the incident later.

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 a commotion. Police personnel chased away the BJP supporters. The saffron party denounced the act and said it was unacceptable.

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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 (August 11). His mortal remains reached Madurai on August 13 for the last rites. The minister, officials, and state BJP chief K Annamalai paid tributes to the departed soldier.

(With inputs from agencies)