Hitting out at Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) over the controversy surrounding Thiruvalluvar, BJP General Secretary P. Muralidhar said that the ancient Tamil poet was a great saint, not a DMK leader.
"He was a great saint, not a DMK leader. He lived for universal values and never favoured sectarian values," Muralidhar told IANS.
"I challenge DMK to label the vibhuti (sacred ash) on Thiruvalluvar's forehead anti-Tamil. Tamilians will give a befitting reply," he added.
The controversy was sparked after the BJP's Tamil Nadu unit posted a portrait of Thiruvalluvar in a saffron 'dhoti' with sacred ash on his forehead and biceps. DMK has accused BJP of disrespecting the Tamil poet.
"Saint Thiruvalluvar is idolised not only in India but also the world. He is BJP's role model. We oppose DMK's narrow interpretation of Saint Thiruvalluvar," the saffron party leader said.
"DMK has always betrayed Tamilians," said Muralidhar, emphasising that the BJP treats Thiruvalluvar as "role model for good governance both at central and state level".
Who is Thiruvalluvar? Born in Mylapore, Thiruvalluvar was a celebrated Tamil poet, who lived 2000 years ago. Written by Thiruvalluvar, "Thirukkural", comprises 1,330 couplets on ethics and morality
On his recent visit to Thailand, Prime Minsiter Narendra Modi released a Thai translation of the Tamil classic Thirukkural.