Dravida Munnetra Kazagham MP A Raja on Monday extended an apology to Chief Minister K Palaniswami for making certain remarks allegedly referring to the latter's deceased mother, but claimed his words were 'misunderstood' and 'manipulated.'
Raja's apology to the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam veteran came a day after the chief minister turned emotional at an election rally in Chennai while recalling the episode, besides police booking the Nilgiris MP under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code and Representation of People Act over the matter.
Elections to the 234 member Tamil Nadu assembly will be held on April 6.
Raja said he clarified in a public meeting in Gudalur in the district on Sunday that he did not intend to defame Palaniswami or his late mother, but was making a comparison between the leadership qualities of his party chief M K Stalin and the CM, using a children's analogy.
"Still, I came across reports that the chief minister turned emotional at my remarks and I am deeply anguished over this. I express regret from the bottom of my heart for lines that were misunderstood," he said.
"In fact, I have no hesitation to apologise to CM Palaniswami if he really felt hurt and (did not do it) for politics (turning emotional)," he read out from a statement before reporters.
Seeking to clarify things with the CM, his party workers and others, Raja said his speech was not about the personal criticism of two leaders, but an estimation and comparison of two political figures in public life -- Stalin and Palaniswami.
Raja, who said his words were "selectively picked and manipulated for political reasons," said that while acquitting him in the 2G spectrum allocation scam, Special Judge O P Saini had said the case was about "misreading of files, selective reading of files, non-reading of files, out of context reading of files," and said his speech in contention should be seen in its totality of 40 minutes.
He said he had extended the apology since the CM had turned emotional and that he did not want the episode to remain a "black mark" in his public life.
He also did not want to embarrass his party DMK or its chief Stalin, Raja added.
To a question, he said possible electoral gains may be behind the matter becoming controversial.
Raja's alleged vulgar remarks had earlier touched a raw nerve with the ruling AIADMK, with party workers staging state-wide protests demanding his arrest, even as his effigies were burnt in places like Salem, Palaniswami's native district.
The CM on Sunday turned emotional while reacting to Raja's alleged disparaging remarks against him, his mother and said a mother occupied a lofty position in society and anyone who denigrated women would be punished by God.
The ruling party had also petitioned the Election Commission, seeking a ban on Raja from campaigning.
AIADMK ally Bharatiya Janata Party had also hit out at Raja for his comments, with Union Minister Smriti Irani alleging that "DMK is such a political party that does not respect women."
DMK president Stalin, without mentioning anyone's name, had said on Saturday that during campaigns, party workers must make dignified comments, saying rivals would distort speeches.