The recent remark made by a DMK MP in Parliament has sparked a heated debate between the North and South of India.
This debate has been raging since the BJP’s poll victories in the Hindi heartland states of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Chhattisgarh, as well as the Congress’s triumph in Telangana.
Critics of the BJP argue that their ideology resonates primarily in the Hindi heartland, while the southern part of the country has rejected the party.
On the other hand, the BJP dismisses the ‘North vs South’ debate as divisive and a refusal by their opponents to accept electoral setbacks.
‘North vs South’ Divide
Earlier this year, the Congress emerged victorious in the Karnataka Assembly polls, thus wresting the only foothold the BJP had in the South.
The recent win in Telangana consolidates the Congress’s position even further in the southern region. Kerala and Tamil Nadu, meanwhile, are held by Left and DMK (Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam) respectively.
It is worth noting that Andhra Pradesh, ruled by the YSR Congress party, has backed the BJP on critical national issues.
The BJP’s recent victories in the heartland states of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Chhattisgarh now place them in complete control of these states.
Furthermore, the party also holds Maharashtra, Gujarat, and Uttar Pradesh – all of which are politically significant.
The ‘North vs South’ argument gains momentum from the cultural and linguistic differences between these regions.
Moreover, the southern states often boast higher GDP, higher literacy rates, and lower population.
Those supporting the ‘north vs south’ divide also highlight the migration of individuals from northern states to the south in search of employment opportunities.
As the results of the recent elections unfolded, with the BJP emerging victorious in the heartland states and the Congress in Telangana, Congress leader Praveen Chakravarty posted on social media, “The South-North boundary line getting thicker and clearer!” Karti Chidambaram, a Congress MP, simply posted two words, “the South”.
These posts caught the attention of prominent BJP detractors who pointed to the high literacy rates in the south as evidence that the BJP’s policies and ideologies only resonate with voters in the northern part of the country.
Some even suggested that the 2024 elections would become a battle between the ‘north vs south’.
These posts sparked a huge controversy, with BJP leaders accusing Mr. Chakravarty of promoting divisive politics.
Although he later deleted the post, the debate continued. Mr. Chidambaram, on the other hand, attempted to distance himself from the row by stating that his comment was open to interpretation and did not warrant excessive excitement.
PM Joins BJP Pushback
Leading BJP figures strongly criticized Mr. Chakravarty for his ‘north vs south’ post. BL Santhosh, the BJP’s national general secretary, commented, “They always keep two cards ready. Now they have taken out the second card.”
Kerala BJP president K Surendran accused the Congress of adopting a “separatist narrative” after their usual tactics of accusing the BJP of being a “Hindu party”, resorting to caste politics, questioning EVMs, and offering freebies failed.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi also weighed in on the debate with a post on social media, employing emojis to express his thoughts.
Responding to a journalist’s critical stance on the ‘north vs south’ argument and other attempts to explain the Congress’s setbacks in the heartland, the Prime Minister wrote, “May they be happy with their arrogance, lies, pessimism, and ignorance. But… Beware of their divisive agenda. An old habit of 70 years can’t go away so easily. Also, such is the wisdom of the people that they have to be prepared for many more meltdowns ahead.”
Row Reaches Parliament
The ongoing ‘North vs South’ debate reached the Lok Sabha when DMK MP DNV Senthil Kumar referred to states in the Hindi heartland as “gaumutra states”.
The BJP, DMK chief MK Stalin, and their ally Congress criticized these remarks. BJP leaders accused Mr. Kumar of making a “hate speech” and warned that voters would “wipe out” the Opposition bloc, INDIA, in the upcoming general elections.
Union Minister Anurag Thakur condemned the INDIA bloc for insulting “Hindu, Hindi, and Sanatan Dharma” and supporting divisive ideas.
In response to the backlash, the DMK MP issued an apology, stating that he had used inappropriate language while commenting on the recent election results.
The DMK party also emphasized the importance of maintaining dignity in public remarks.
In conclusion, the ‘North vs South’ debate has intensified in the wake of recent election results and the controversial remarks made by political figures.
While some argue that the BJP’s ideologies primarily resonate in the Hindi heartland, others highlight the cultural, linguistic, and socioeconomic differences between the two regions.
It remains to be seen how this debate will impact future electoral campaigns and the overall political landscape of India.