MY KOLKATA EDUGRAPH
ADVERTISEMENT
regular-article-logo Sunday, 19 May 2024

Congress puts out 'unity' message after D.K. Suresh's remarks over separate country sparks row

Suresh had purportedly said that the people of south India might have to demand a separate country if the states were not provided the rightful share of taxes

J.P. Yadav, Basant Kumar Mohanty Published 03.02.24, 06:01 AM
DK Suresh with his elder brother and deputy chief minister D.K. Shivakumar

DK Suresh with his elder brother and deputy chief minister D.K. Shivakumar PTI photo

An uproar erupted in Parliament on Friday as the BJP accused Congress Lok Sabha member D.K. Suresh of openly talking about breaking India and called for his resignation, piling pressure on the Congress to take action against him.

Suresh had purportedly said that the people of south India might have to demand a separate country if the states were not provided the rightful share of taxes.

ADVERTISEMENT

Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha and Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge said Suresh had denied any such statement. He said his party stood for the unity of India and attacked the ruling BJP over a crisis over the formation of government in Jharkhand.

Leader of the House in the Rajya Sabha, Piyush Goyal, accused the Congress of trying to divide the nation.

“When we enter Parliament, we take oath in the name of the Constitution. This statement is an attack on the country’s sovereignty,” he said.

Kharge said a matter concerning a member of the Lok Sabha should not be raised in the Rajya Sabha, but Chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar overruled this view.

Kharge said his party leaders such as Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi had laid down their lives fighting for the integrity of the country and alleged that the BJP and the RSS had made no sacrifice for India’s sovereignty and integrity.

“He (Suresh) said he has not said this. Let the matter be sent to the privilege committee. We are for the unity of India,” Kharge said.

Kharge said a constitutional crisis had emerged in Jharkhand after the arrest of Hemant Soren. Though Hemant resigned on Wednesday and nominated Champai Soren as his successor, the governor delayed the oath-taking programme. Champai was sworn in as chief minister on Friday.

Addressing a news conference, BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad said: “Will the country’s sovereignty be torn into shreds for political benefits? He has committed gross impropriety as an MP by openly talking about breaking up India. It is a clear violation of the Constitution’s main point of unity and integrity.”

In the Lok Sabha, parliamentary affairs minister Pralhad Joshi accused the Congress MP of “insulting the Constitution” by talking about a separate country for southern India, demanded an apology from and action on the MP, and urged Speaker Om Birla to refer the matter to the ethics committee.

The Opposition protested and demanded an opportunity to speak but Birla said they would be allowed to do so after papers were laid. The Opposition members walked out in protest.

In Karnataka, Suresh’s elder brother and deputy chief minister D.K. Shivakumar led Congress leaders in reaffirming the party’s commitment to the unity and integrity of the nation but reminded how southern states have been denied their due share of tax revenues from the divisible pool.

“You cannot look only at the Hindi belt…. We feel like we have been let down. But the entire country is one,” Shivakumar said.

Additional reporting by K.M. Rakesh

Follow us on:
ADVERTISEMENT