The marriage of a 36-year-old Dalit MLA from Tamil Nadu to the 19-year-old daughter of a temple priest has sparked a row, after the bride’s father accused the MLA of getting into a relationship with his daughter while she was still a minor, NDTV reported on Wednesday. The father also threatened to kill himself, but the police intervened to stop him, and registered a case of attempted suicide.

The father, Swaminathan, also said he opposed the marriage between All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam legislator A Prabhu and his daughter not because of caste, but because of the age difference between the two. He also said he felt “betrayed” and “threatened”.

Prabhu has released a video with his new bride, claiming that they have been in love for four months. He said his family had approached the woman’s family seeking permission for the couple to marry, but were rebuffed. But the couple went ahead with the wedding, which was held at Prabhu’s home on October 5.

Prabhu told NDTV that he hoped that his relationship with his in-laws will improve. “Till I was 30 I was busy with politics,” he said. “After I was elected [in 2016] my family chose a bride for me but Amma [former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa] died and I was heartbroken and did not marry. But during lockdown I had close interaction with her and we fell in love.”

Prabhu said he has known his father-in-law for many years and had a good relationship with him. The MLA claimed that “political forces” may have poisoned Swaminathan’s mind against him. Asked if an inter-caste marriage would have any impact on his political career, Prabhu said his political and personal lives were separate.