DMK Lok Sabha member DNV Senthil Kumar on Tuesday triggered a row by describing Hindi heartland as ”gaumutra states”, drawing instant condemnation from the BJP as well as its ally Congress, whose leaders asked him to tender an apology.
AdvertisementWhile participating in a discussion on J&K Reorganisation (Amendment) Bill in the House, he said the BJP can win elections only in the Hindi heartland states and not in south India.
While his description of the Hindi heartland as ”gaumutra” states was expunged by the Lok Sabha Speaker later, the remarks sparked a controversy with several members across party lines condemning the DMK leader and the video of his speech going viral on social media. Facing flak, he later apologised. ”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 apologize for sending the wrong meaning across,” he said in a post on X.
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AdvertisementBJP leaders termed Senthil 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 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 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 said. Senthil 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 and former Bihar deputy chief minister Sushil Modi said Senthil Kumar has hurt the sentiments of crores of Hindus by his remarks. ”Gaumutra (cow urine) is not just urine. People revere the cow as holy and cow urine has medicinal use,” Modi said. ”DMK has its own politics, Congress has its own politics. Congress believes in Sanatan Dharma, reveres gaumata, and respects all religions,” former Union minister Rajiv Shukla said. ”People making such statements want to convey that they have nothing to do with the culture and traditions of this country,” Tribal Affairs Minister Arjun Munda said. 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 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. 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, Senthil Kumar 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.”