February 2, 2024
NEW DELHI – Congress MP from Bengaluru Rural, DK Suresh on Thursday triggered a controversy with his remarks that South Indian states are facing injustice and that they will be forced to demand a separate nation if this continued.
Speaking to reporters about the Interim Budget 2024, Suresh accused the Narendra Modi government of not giving the right share of GST and direct taxes to South Indian states.
“The Centre is not properly giving the right share of GST and direct taxes to South Indian states. The South Indian states are facing injustice. The money collected from southern states is being given to North Indian states. If this continues, we will be forced to demand a separate country,” the Congress leader said.
He further claimed that the Centre is getting over Rs 4 lakh crore revenue from the South Indian states but what they get in return is negligible.
“The centre is getting over ₹4 lakh crore from us and what we are getting in return is negligible. We have to question this. If this is not rectified, all southern states have to raise their voices demanding a separate nation,” he added.
His remarks drew strong criticism from the BJP, which accused the Congress leader of a playing a ‘trick’ to divide the country.
“While the Congress Party has a history of ‘Divide and Rule’, its MP Sri @DKSureshINC plays the trick again now, wanting the North and South to be divided…Let’s consider the matter of the tax devolution to Karnataka in recent years,” Surya said in a post on ‘X’.
Karnataka deputy CM and Suresh’s brother DK Shivakumar sought to play down the comments, saying the Congress leader spoke of the pain of South India.
“DK Suresh or any other leader have spoken of the pain of South India… There has to be a balance. The entire country is one… You cannot only look at the Hindi belt… In this budget, there is no equal distribution of finances… Karnataka has been giving a lot of revenue to the Centre… For the entire South India, no major announcement has been made… We feel like we have been let down. But the entire country is one. We are Indians. India should be united. There is no question of demanding anything region-wise,” DK Shivakumar said.
Meanwhile, the Congress has distanced itself from the Karnataka MP’s remarks and clarified that it was not the party’s position to ask for a separate state.
“It is not the policy of the Congress party or the position of the Congress party to ask for a separate country that I can deny. For the rest, you have to ask Mr Suresh,” Congress leader P Chidambram said.