‘No disrespect, we’ll just relocate Periyar statue’: Annamalai

Tamil Nadu Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief K Annamalai on Thursday clarified that he didn’t speak against ‘Periyar’ EV Ramasamy, a day after his comments that the BJP would remove all statues of the leader, who is also known as father of the Dravidian movement, from outside temples and abolish the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments (HR&CE) department were criticised by the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) and All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK).

However, the BJP leader said that the removal of Periyar’s atheists slogans from near temples will be the party’s poll plank.

“The BJP did not insult Periyar,” Annamalai told reporters at BJP office in Chennai. The BJP leader said, he instead spoke on behalf of people whose sentiments have been hurt by putting up Periyar’s atheists slogans in front of temples. “We have put forth an argument on behalf of the people that it should not be outside of temples” Annamalai said. “Periyar’s statue will be confined to where it should be – in the public domain with due respect – and not in front of temples. Why hurt the sentiments of people who believe in going to temples.”

On November 7, Annamalai at a rally in Srirangam had said that the party’s first job when they come to power in Tamil Nadu would be to remove the statues of E V Ramasamy, revered as ‘Periyar,’ from outside temples.