Highlights

  • Ruckus for Congress MP DK Suresh's comment
  • DK Suresh suggested there maybe demands for a separate nation for South India
  • BJP: condemn such divisive comments

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Mallikarjun Kharge denounces Congress MP Suresh's remark on demand for separate nation

Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge denounced in Parliament on February 2 remarks by party's Lok Sabha MP DK Suresh suggesting that there may be demands for a nationhood from South India over what he called fiscal injustice

Mallikarjun Kharge denounces Congress MP Suresh's remark on demand for separate nation

Union Minister Piyush Goyal on Friday sought an apology from the Congress for the controversial statement by party MP that suggested a call for a separate south nation over fiscal injustice, but the opposition party's president said it stands for a united nation and will not tolerate any such call.

Raising the issue in the Rajya Sabha when it met for the day, Goyal said the statement by D K Suresh, who is the brother of Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister D K Shivakumar, reflects the "divisive" thinking of the Congress party.

The Congress has in the past divided the nation and the latest statement is an example of the same thinking of the party, he said.

Goyal, who is minister for commerce and industry, said even for fighting an election an oath of affirmation to the Constitution of India is required. After being elected, MPs have to take an oath of allegiance to the Constitution and that of upholding sovereignty and integrity of the country, he added.

Without naming Suresh, he said the statement cannot be ignored as it is an attack on the Constitution of India and an insult to the sovereignty and integrity of the country.

The statement, he said, was made on a day when Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman was presenting the interim Budget that lays a roadmap for a developed India by 2047.

"The Congress president should clarify if the party is associated with the statement. (He should also state if) the country's sovereignty and integrity and its Constitution hold any place in the mindset of the Congress. (And that) does the party want to divide the country into north and south?," he said.

"The country will not tolerate this divisive approach of the Congress. I condemn the Congress party and its leaders and demand that they apologise for the statement." Leader of the Opposition and Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge said Suresh is not a member of Rajya Sabha and, therefore, his conduct cannot be debated in the House.

Chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar, however, said his earlier rulings had made it clear that the statement by a Lok Sabha MP can be discussed in the Upper House.

"Congress leaders have given sacrifices for the country," he said, adding the MP in question has clarified on TV that he did not state what is being reported.

"If he has said anything, the matter should be looked into by the privileges committee (of Lok Sabha)," Kharge said.

"We will not tolerate any statement that calls for breaking the country. That statement may be from any party... be it from my party or their (BJP) party, or somebody else. Someone says or not, I Mallikarjun Kharge, will state that India is one from Kanyakumari to Kashmir and will remain one. It is for this cause that Indira Gandhi gave the supreme sacrifice of her life and Rajiv Gandhi gave his life. Can such a party talk of breaking the country? We will not tolerate such a thing." It is not correct to repeat in the House what Suresh has not said, he added.

Goyal had read out the English translation of the statement Suresh made in Kannada on Thursday.

The MP from Bengaluru Rural constituency had purportedly stated that southern states are not receiving their dues as taxes collected from them are being distributed in north. The southern states, he purportedly said, would be forced to demand a separate nation if the injustice was not rectified.


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