DMK MP D N V Senthil Kumar on Wednesday apologised in the Lok Sabha for his controversial 'north-south divide' remark which had sparked a backlash.
Kumar had on Tuesday used a pejorative to describe Hindi heartland states while attacking the ruling BJP. His comments led to ruckus and adjournment in the House, and were expunged by Speaker Om Birla later.
MPs from the ruling BJP on Wednesday also created a ruckus over the issue, and the House witnessed a brief adjournment during the Question Hour over the issue.
At 12 noon, when the House reassembled for the Zero Hour, Union Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal raised the issue, and asked if DMK leader TR Baalu, and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi agree with the comments.
Demanding an apology, he said, "Is TR Baalu standing with him? Is Rahul Gandhi standing with him? Voters have made BJP victorious in three states, and this is what they say. This is the thinking of dividing India in north and south. We will not allow it," he said.
Baalu, who raised the issue of floods caused by Cyclone Michaung in Tamil Nadu and demanded that the Centre declare it as a national calamity, said the remarks made by Kumar were not correct.
"Statement made by Senthil Kumar was not correct. MK Stalin has warned the particular member," Baalu said.
Soon after, Kumar expressed regret over the comment.
Kumar said the remarks were made "inadvertently" and if they have hurt the sentiments of people, he withdraws them.
The DMK MP had earlier tendered an apology for his comments on Tuesday.
"Commenting on the results of the five recent state assembly elections, I have used a word in a inappropriate way. Not using that term with any intent, I apologise for sending the wrong meaning across," he said in a post on X.
While participating in a discussion on J&K Reorganisation (Amendment) Bill in the House on Tuesday, Kumar had said the BJP can win elections only in the Hindi heartland states and not in south India.
BJP leaders termed Kumar's remarks as "hate speech" and said the voters will "wipe out" the India bloc from southern India as well in the next elections.
"Very unfortunate choice of words. Unparliamentary. Senthil Kumar must forthwith apologize and withdraw his comments," Congress Lok Sabha member Karti Chidambaram had said on X.
"Very unfortunate to witness an Indian MP making derogatory statements against GauMata & SanatanaDharma culture revered by over one billion Indians. Many, including myself, consider ourselves Sanatanis," former Union minister Milind Deora had said on X.
"DMK must realise that its reckless remarks only weaken INDIA Alliance's efforts in challenging BJP in the Hindi heartland. India is one, and there is no place for a north-south divide," Deora had said.
Kumar's comments come in the backdrop of some referring to the recent assembly election results as reflective of the 'north-south divide' after the BJP trounced the Congress in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, and the Congress won in Telangana.
"This is another example of hate speech. This reflects the frustration of INDIA constituents. Gomutra and Gomata are revered not only in northern states but also in the South. If they keep insulting Indian culture and traditions then leave aside north India, the INDIA bloc will also be wiped out from southern India," BJP Rajya Sabha member G V L Narasimha Rao told PTI.
Senior BJP leader Sanjay Jaiswal said the BJP will even form the government in Tamil Nadu in the next five years by defeating the DMK.
"Senthil Kumar is scared because he knows that the BJP will win big in Tamil Nadu. Defeating the DMK is the only goal of the BJP in Tamil Nadu," he had said.
During the elections, the row over some DMK leaders' remarks against Sanatan Dharma had been latched on by the BJP to target the Congress.
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