Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami became emotional and teared up during a speech on Sunday, while responding to DMK Deputy General Secretary A Raja’s derogatory comments comparing the AIADMK leader with Leader of Opposition MK Stalin, during a campaign rally earlier this week. “I see that as (a remark against) the mother in every family. See how low they can stoop? You should see what they speak when an ordinary man is the Chief Minister. If this is the state of the Chief Minister, who will protect people like you? If these people come to power, what will happen to women, mothers?... you all should give appropriate punishment to such people...Mothers occupy the highest status. Whoever speaks ill of mothers will be punished appropriately by god,” the Chief Minister said, his voice choking, as the crowd cheered. A Raja’s derogatory comments drew widespread criticism from within and outside the DMK. His party chief MK Stalin also released a statement urging everybody associated with the DMK to maintain decorum while campaigning and speaking. A Raja was also booked by the Chennai police for his comment, under three sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). During a campaign at the Thousand Lights constituency last week, A Raja had said, “Let’s compare DMK President Stalin and Edappadi K Palaniswami. In 23 years Stalin went to jail under MISA rule. Then he served as a district secretary in the party, general committee member, youth wing secretary, treasurer, then working president and then president of DMK. He became a leader step-by-step and has served as an MLA, then Chennai’s Mayor, state Minister, Deputy CM, and now he is going to become a CM,” he said, adding, “That’s why in the villages I say, if Stalin is a healthy baby born out of a ‘rightful’ marriage, Edappadi Palaniswami is a premature baby born out of an illicit affair in politics.” However, A Raja has refused to apologise. He said that he was aware of an ‘edited’ version of his speech doing the rounds on social media. He said that he was trying to draw a comparison between the ways Stalin and Palaniswami had risen through the political ranks and his intention was not to speak in a derogatory manner about Palaniswami’s birth. Adding that his speech has been edited to create a different impression on social media, A Raja said that he cannot be held responsible for that. Tamil Nadu will go to polls on April 6 in a single phase and the counting of votes will take place on May 2.