A day after the actor rejected demands for an apology by Dravidian outfits, the chorus against him has grown louder with Tamil Nadu Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam backed the rationalist leader, popularly called Periyar by his followers.
K Veeramani, President of the Dravidar Kazhagam, founded by Periyar, said the actor will have to "answer the court," for his remark.
The state unit of the Congress came down heavily on Rajinikanth and asked him not to fall prey to "evil, communal elements."
Rallying behind Rajinikanth, BJP national secretary H Raja said the Dravidian outfits were trying to intimidate him.
The Dravidar Viduthalai Katchi (DVK), which was the first to condemn the actor for his remarks over the rally taken out in 1971, on Wednesday staged a protest demonstration a short distance away from his Poes Garden residence, demanding that he tender an apology.
Security was stepped up around the residence of Rajinikanth, who had on Tuesday stuck to his comments that images of Lord Ram and his consort Sita were taken without dress in the rally and garlanded with sandals, saying his comments were factual.
Raising slogans against the actor, cadres of DVK, a fringe Dravidian outfit,asked him to not aid 'communal politics."
Gathering on the arterial Cathedral Road, the protesters held placards decrying him for allegedly being a stooge of the RSS.
When they tried to move toward's the actor's residence, they were detained by the police and later allowed to disperse.
A posse of police personnel was deployed in the Poes Garden vicinity and road users and motorists were allowed to proceed after questioning.
Other voices against the actor from the Dravidian bloc meanwhile, continued to echo in Tamil Nadu.
Panneerselvam, the ruling AIADMK top leader, said Periyar's ideals cannot be found fault with. "It was Periyar who laid the foundation for even an ordinary man like me to occupy lofty positions," he said.
Only after a thorough research on the leader's work for the upliftment of the Tamil society, should anyone express their views, he said, virtually censuring Rajinikanth.
Senior ruling party leader and Minister D Jayakumar condemned there marks of Rajinikanth, who is expected to launch his political party ahead of the 2021 assembly polls.
No one knew why Rajinikanth said something that did not happen, the Minister claimed and added he had already mentioned that this was an unnecessary controversy.
He wondered why should the actor "divert" the people's attention by such a remark.
Revenue Minister R B Udhayakumar threw his hat in the ring saying "even thousands of Rajikanths cannot diminish the reputation of Periyar."
While the DMK had already said the actor must be mindful while commenting about Periyar, Congress, its ally said the actor should have avoided making such a remark and wanted to know if he will explain about the "political and communal ulterior motive."
Tamil Nadu Congress Committee chief K S Alagiri in a statement, condemned theremark, alleging it amounted to "belittling Periyar who dedicated his life for establishing social justice for the Tamil people who were suppressed for thousands of years."
Congress MP Su Thirunavukkarasar, however, said the issue must not be escalated.
Speaking to reporters in Sivaganga, H Raja said there "are proof to substantiate the claim that Hindu deities were denigrated in the rally." DK chief Veeramani himself had allegedly said that the DMK won more seats after a Hindu deity was slapped with chappals, he claimed.
CPI leader D Raja, praising Periyar, said the rationalist leader fought for women's emancipation and social justice and none should comment in a way that may trigger a row.Caution must be exercised when speaking about such a revered leader, he said.
Social media was flooded with several posts which appeared to be divided on ideological lines and went both in favour and against the actor vis-a-vis the 1971 rally.
A Twitter user, tagging Congress leaders including Rahul Gandhi asked if they have seen the TNCC chief's statement and wanted to know if the grand old party supported "insulting of Hindu Gods and garlanding them with chappals?"
The controversial remarks were made by Rajinikanth on January 14 while taking part in an event held here by Tamil magazine 'Thuglak'.
"In 1971, at Salem, Periyar took out a rally in which the undressed images of Lord Sriramachandra moorthy and Sita with a garland of sandal-featured ....," he had said while lauding the founder editor of the magazine Cho Ramaswamy for publishing news about it.