Ministers Demand Apology from Congress for its MP Seeking “Separate Nation” for South India
NEW DELHI, Feb 2: The Union Ministers in both Houses of Parliament on Friday demanded an apology from the Congress after one of its Lok Sabha members DK Suresh allegedly suggested that South India may seek a separate nation if they don’t get enough funds in the Union Budget.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi urged Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla to refer the matter to the Ethics Committee, and sought an apology from Sonia Gandhi, who heads the Congress Parliamentary Party.
On Thursday, offering his response to the union budget to Kannada channels, Mr Suresh reportedly said, ”Our tax money is being distributed to north India, if we don’t condemn it there might arise a situation where we will have to demand a separate nation.”
Raising the issue during the Zero Hour in the Lok Sabha, Mr Joshi termed Mr Suresh’s remarks an insult to the architect of the Constitution, Babasaheb Ambedkar. “I condemn the statement of the Congress member and demand that the matter be referred to the Ethics Committee of the Lok Sabha,” Mr Joshi said. “The Congress traditions on dividing the country still persists. I demand that Sonia Gandhi take action against the member and also clarify whether the party supports the views of the Congress member,” he said.
Members of the Opposition INDIA bloc, including the Congress and the DMK, were on their feet. Congress deputy leader Gaurav Gogoi wanted to respond to Mr Joshi immediately but Mr Birla indicated he would allow him after laying of papers.
Later, speaking on the Motion of Thanks for the President, Mr Gogoi questioned how the Parliamentary Affairs Minister could raise an issue when Mr Suresh was not present in the House and that too for a statement made outside the House.
In the Rajya Sabha, Union Minister Piyush Goyal sought an apology from the Congress for the MP’s remarks, which he said reflect the “divisive” thinking of the Congress. He said the statement cannot be ignored as it was an attack on the Constitution and an insult to the sovereignty and integrity of the country.
Congress chief and Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge said the party would not tolerate any statement that called 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,” he said.
At the same time, he said Mr Suresh was being misquoted. “If he has said anything, the matter should be looked into by the Privileges Committee (of the Lok Sabha),” Mr Kharge added.