Putting up a stout defence of former Telecom Minster A Raja arrested in 2G spectrum scam case, Chief Minister M Karunanidhi on Thursday said he was suffering in jail only because he helped mobile phone facilities reach the poor and downtrodden and played the caste card.
Likening Raja to King Mahabali of Kerala, Karunanidhi told a public meeting here that the Hindu mythology had it that Mahabali had to suffer for the good things he did for the people and due to the upper caste people.
''Like that, Raja, a Dalit, had made available mobile telephony services at affordable cost to the poor. He is suffering for that now,'' he said in his first remarks on the arrest of Raja projected as the party's Dalit face.
The opposition parties had targeted Raja and DMK because they formed the pillar of the "downtrodden or Shudras", he said addressing a rally here in a virtual launch of the party's campaign for coming assembly polls.
Karunanidhi indicated that the main thrust of the campaign would be performance and development.
Having a dig at Left Front government in West Bengal, he said the 'human injustice' of a man pulling a rickshaw still continued in the streets of Kolkata while his government had as early as in 1971 abolished them and replaced with cycle-rickshaws.
Likewise, his government had introduced several schemes during the past five years but the "flag ship" programme of his government was the Kalaignar Housing Scheme aimed at making Tamil Nadu a hut-free state.
"Do not have any doubt about the scheme. We will remain in power and implement it fully,'' he said.
He also had a dig at the media when he charged a section of them with carrying "malicious reports" against DMK "in a bid to oust" his government.