Parliament Winter Session: DMK MP DNV Senthilkumar has sparked a controversy after he made a statement in Lok Sabha saying that the people of the country should think that the power of the BJP is only winning elections mainly in the Hindi heartland states which they generally refer to as 'Gaumutra' states. The BJP has hit out at the DMK lawmaker saying that this will not be tolerated.
Speaking on recently concluded Assembly election results in five states during the winter session of the Parliament, DNV Senthilkumar said, "...The people of this country should think that the power of this BJP is only winning elections mainly in the heartland states of Hindi, what we generally call the 'Gaumutra' states..."
The comments come in the backdrop of some referring to the recent assembly election results as a 'North-South divide' after the BJP trounced the Congress in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, and the Congress won in Telangana.
During the elections, the row over some DMK leaders' remarks against Sanatan Dharma had been latched on by the BJP to target the Congress.
Facing backlash after his comments, the DMK leader said, "I made some statement inside the House. At the time Home Minister & BJP members were there at that time. I have used this before in my Parliament speeches. It was not a controversial statement. If it touches somebody I will try to avoid using it next time. I will use some other words to mention that where the BJP is strong in getting their votes."
As the controversy continued to rage, the DMK lawmaker issued an apology saying, "Commenting on the results of the five recent state assembly elections, I have used a word in an inappropriate way. Not using that term with any intent, I apologise for sending the wrong meaning across."
Earlier this year, Congress had wrested Karnataka from the BJP, while other southern states are ruled by non-BJP parties including Tamil Nadu where Congress ally DMK is in power.
Speaking in Lok Sabha, Senthilkumar said, "You (BJP) cannot come to South India. You see all the results of what happens in Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka... we are very strong over there."
He went on to say, "We will not be surprised if you have an option of converting all these states into Union territories so that you can come into indirect power because you can never dream of setting foot over there and taking control of all the southern states."
Won't be tolerated, BJP slams DMK
In Tamil Nadu, state BJP chief K Annamalai condemned the "insensitive" remarks of the MP, saying the level of the party's discourse is "sinking" like Chennai and the "arrogance" of DMK will be the prime reason for its downfall.
"After calling our North Indian friends Pani Puri sellers, toilet constructors, etc., I.N.D.I.A alliance DMK MP, makes Gaumutra Jibes," he said on X.
"Chennai is sinking due to the misgovernance of DMK & and so is their level of discourse on the floor of the Parliament," Annamalai said, referring to the flood-like situation in the state capital. The BJP "highly condemns this insensitive remark," he said.
Annamalai said the DMK MP has possibly forgotten that the NDA Alliance is in power in Puducherry and was in power in Karnataka until recently.
"The arrogance of DMK will be the prime reason for their downfall!," he posted. Former Karnataka minister CT Ravi asked if Congress leader Rahul Gandhi endorses such insulting remarks.
"Will I.N.D.I.A. alliance leader Rahul Gandhi agree with this DMK man who has insulted Bharatiyas of the Heartland States? "How long will CONgress and its allies insult Bharatiyas? (sic)," he said on X.
Meanwhile, BJP Rajya Sabha member GVL Narasimha Rao on Tuesday demanded that the Tamil Nadu government register a case against state minister for making "hate speeches" against Sanatan Dharma and sack them from their posts.
"BJP is accepted all across the country. Whoever is saying this, does not have any knowledge. He is not aware of the culture of India but we all know that people have trust in BJP and PM Modi is not just an Indian leader, he has become a world leader...," said BJP MP Jagannath Sarkar.
Union Minister Meenakashi Lekhi said, "I think that is a disrespect of the 'Sanatani' tradition. DMK will soon get to know the benefits of 'Gaumutra'. They are very well aware that this will not be tolerated by the people of the country. Anyone who tries to play with the sentiments of the country will get a befitting reply from the public..."
Adhir Ranjan says 'individual statement'
Congress MP, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said, "We have nothing to do with what an individual is saying inside the Parliament, it is his own statement. We respect 'Gau Mata', we don't have anything to say on this..."
Karti Chidambaram says very unfortunate choice of words
"Very unfortunate choice of words. Unparliamentary. Must forthwith apologise and withdraw his comments," said Congress MP Karti Chidambaram.
MDMK supports DMK MP's 'Gaumutra' remark
Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK) MP Vaiko supported DMK MP's comment made in Lok Sabha and said, "I agree with his statement, he is correct"
Earlier, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin's son Udhayanidhi Stalin made a controversial statement when he spoke about eradicating Sanatan Dharam.
With inputs from PTI