Tamil Nadu minister KT Rajendra Bhalaji has sensationally called Prime Minister his ‘Daddy’ and father of India. His sensational comments came little more than a year after BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra had referred to the prime minister as desh kaa baap (father of India).
Speaking to reporters in Chennai, Bhalaji said that Modi was ‘our Daddy now since we have lost our Amma (later Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa). Bhalaji, according to India Today, said, “PM Modi has come as a Daddy to guide and support us.”
When reminded that his late leader Jayalalithaa had called herself better than Modi during the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, Bhalaji said she only ‘wanted to show the world that such a qualified leadership from Tamil Nadu was present.’ “Otherwise, she had all respect for Mr. Modi, even in the days of (former Prime Minister), Atal Bihari Vajpayee. They were good friends,” The Hindu quoted him as saying.
#WATCH Tamil Nadu Minister K T Rajendra Balaji: Amma’s (Jayalalithaa) decisions were her own. So it was different, but in today’s context due to absence of Amma, Modi is our daddy, he is our daddy, India’s daddy. (8.3.19) pic.twitter.com/2zzETpaEIo
— ANI (@ANI) March 9, 2019
In December 2017, while taking part in a debate on News18 TV channel, Patra had referred to Modi as the father of India. During a heated debate with student leader Kanhaiya Kumar, Patra had claimed that Congress President Rahul Gandhi and former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav had insulted the people of Gujarat by denying their contribution to the Indian army.
Addressing Kumar he had said, “Your Rahul Gandhi, your brother Akhilesh had said (that people of Gujarat did not join the army).” This had prompted a sharp question from Kumar, who asked, “If Akhilesh is my brother, who is Modi to you?” Patra had replied, “Modi is the father of this country.”
Sambit Patra’s comments elicited an angry response from the Congress, which demanded an apology from Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the way the BJP spokesperson had insulted Mahatma Gandhi, India’s father of the nation. Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala had said, “They had the audacity to insult the ‘Father of the Nation’ Mahatma Gandhi. They can abuse and misbehave with us. We don’t have any objection. We will accept it as the test of democracy. But on behalf of the Congress party and 130 crore Indians I want to say, such insult of Mahatma Gandhi by BJP spokespersons won’t be tolerated by us. Now, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is termed as the country’s father (desh ka baap).”
With Lok Sabha elections around, Bhalaji’s comments for Modi too are bound to court controversy.