Reporter asks DMK's MK Stalin about 'Dravida Nadu' movement. Here's his reply
DMK working president MK Stalin said a controversial remark he made on the idea of a "Dravida Nadu" - a hypothetical federation of India's southern states - was merely a response to a reporter's question.
He insists he himself made no demand for such a separate state.
But what did he say exactly?
"Vandhaal varaverkapaduginrathu (If it (such a situation) comes, it is being welcomed*)," Stalin said in Tamil, in response to a reporter who said the prevailing situation in southern states might give rise to a demand for a Dravida Nadu movement. "Varum endra nambikkaiyil thaan naan irukkiren (I hope that it will come)," he adds.
This exchange took place Friday in Erode, a district in western Tamil Nadu. The DMK leader's defense of his remarks came today in Chennai, where he also told reporters that the BJP was "overlooking" demands made by southern states.
In nearby Andhra Pradesh, many would agree.
Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu's Telugu Desam Party, made angry and impatient by a long wait for Special Category Status, pulled out of the National Democratic Alliance this week. Along with its regional rival, the YSR Congress, it has moved a motion of no-confidence against Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government.
"Every south Indian state is affected by the central government - that was what was expressed by Chandrababu Naidu also," said DMK Rajya Sabha lawmaker TKS Elangovan. "Modi wants one India, which is not possible. It can never be. We talk about unity in diversity and we are proud about it. There is a pride in unity in diversity, but Modi wants an unitary India, a homogenous India."
Modi, Elangoval said, "is not giving money to the states."
"He is taking more money from Tamil Nadu to the central exchequer, but nothing is done for the development of Tamil Nadu. It is all spent on some north Indian state," he explained.
"We will not start a Dravida Nadu movement, but we will certainly support it."
'ONLY T.N. TALKING ABOUT DRAVIDA NADU'
But TTV Dhinakaran, the new RK Nagar MLA who has launched a new party, said only people in Tamil Nadu were talking about a "Dravida Nadu."
"Only we are speaking abvout Dravida Nadu, no neighbouring state is speaking. We can't even get water from Karnataka, and Kerala is...(saying the) Mullai Periyar dam is theirs. With this, the reality of 'Dravida Nadu' is not possible," he said.
'STALIN WILL BE BOOKED FOR SEDITION'
Vinoj P Selvam, the president of the Tamil Nadu BJP's youth wing, said Stalin "will be book(ed) for sedition if he demands a separate Dravida Nadu."
"He has tried all (the) tricks in the book to come to power, but nothing has worked. And now, he is trying this. The DMK has exhausted all its ammunition and is trying to use this, but this will only backfire."
*NOTE: Stalin uses the passive, continuous tense in Tamil in this sentence.