Bharatiya Janata Party MLA Nainar Nagendran on Wednesday suggested the idea of bifurcating Tamil Nadu, reported the Deccan Herald. He also said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi can split the state if he wanted to do so.

Nagendran was responding to Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam MP A Raja’s statement demanding autonomy for the state at an event held on July 3. Raja had said that the DMK should not be compelled to revive the demand for a separate Tamil Nadu by denying it autonomy.

The MP had also said that social reformer Periyar, whom the DMK considers its ideological leader, advocated for separating Tamil Nadu from India.

On Wednesday, Nagendran said that if Raja can demand a separate Tamil Nadu, he can also have wishes.

“I will say let us split Tamil Nadu into two states,” he said. “South [Tamil Nadu] and North [Tamil Nadu] and both will have 117 seats each. We will have two chief ministers. They will either be from the BJP or from our coalition partner.”

The BJP MLA added: “Don’t think we cannot do it [bifurcate the state]. We are in a position to do such things. It [the bifurcation] can happen if Modi ji wants.”

Following the remarks by Nagendran, the DMK said that the BJP was “drunk on power”.

DMK MP TKS Elangovan asked on what basis would Tamil Nadu be bifurcated. He said that Tamil Nadu cannot be split like Uttar Pradesh, which is a big state with 403 Assembly seats.

“If this is how he speaks, to me it looks like he is proof enough to show that the BJP will not respect any legal framework,” Elangovan added. “Just because they are in power at the Centre, they say things like they will divide Tamil Nadu. If they divide Tamil Nadu into three, then the DMK will have three chief ministers.”

In July last year, Nagendran had supported the idea of bifurcating the state after the BJP had released the profiles of newly-inducted Union ministers following a Cabinet reshuffle. One of the ministers was former Tamil Nadu BJP president L Murugan, who was referred in his profile as a person hailing from “Kongu Nadu”.

Kongu refers to the western region of the state, comprising seven districts, where the BJP has a decent support base, according to the Hindustan Times.

Nagendran had then claimed that it was the duty of the Union government to fulfill the expectations of the citizens amid speculation that the state would be divided. However, Murugan and the BJP dismissed the speculation, saying it was a clerical error.