Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam MP DNV Senthilkumar S on Wednesday apologised for his remarks about the Hindi heartland states in Lok Sabha, reported Hindustan Times.
On Tuesday, the legislator from Tamil Nadu’s Dharmapuri constituency had said that the Bharatiya Janata Party was only winning elections in “gaumutra states”, or cow urine states.
“You cannot come to south India,” he said while referring to the BJP’s victories in the Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh Assembly polls on Sunday. “You see all the results of what happens in Tamil Nadu, Andhra, Telangana and Karnataka.”
Senthilkumar later took to X, formerly known as Twitter, to say that it was not his intent to use the word in an “inappropriate way”.
He also issued an apology in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday and said that he regretted his remarks.
“The statement made by me yesterday inadvertently, if it had hurt the sentiments of the members and sections of the people, I would like to withdraw it,” he said. “I request the words to be expunged.”
The MP had made the remarks during a discussion on the Jammu and Kashmir Reservation (Amendment) Bill and the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (Amendment) Bill.
The Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (Amendment) Bill, 2023, proposes to increase the number of seats in the Legislative Assembly of the Union Territory from 83 to 90. It also proposes to reserve seven seats for Scheduled Castes, nine seats for Scheduled Tribes and certain nominated seats for Kashmiri migrants and displaced persons.
The Jammu and Kashmir Reservation (Amendment) Bill proposes to change the nomenclature of “weak and underprivileged classes” to “Other Backward Classes” in the Union Territory.
In the Assembly, Senthilkumar said that the BJP is trying to change the political structure in Jammu and Kashmir because it cannot win elections in the region.
“Since they are not able to do that, they [convert] a state into a Union Territory, where they can have the control over the governor and then they can run the governance through that,” he said. “If they were capable and confident of winning in Jammu and Kashmir, would they have gone for a Union Territory?”
He also said that he would not be surprised if the BJP-led Union government decided to convert the southern states into Union territories so that it could indirectly rule over them, reported PTI.
“You can never dream of setting foot over there and taking control of all these southern states,” he said.
After his comments, the DMK said Senthilkumar was “strongly reprimanded” by party chief MK Stalin.
“Commenting on the results of the five state Assembly elections, Dharmapuri MP Senthilkumar used a term that could be misinterpreted,” read a statement by the party’s organisational secretary RS Bharati. “On behalf of the party’s high command, I urge everyone to maintain civility and cultural respect when speaking in public.”
Senthilkumar also drew flak from other parties in the INDIA bloc, which is a coalition of 28 Opposition parties that plans to take on the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
Janata Dal (United) leader KC Tyagi told The Indian Express that his party condemns “these kinds of statements made by any leader of any political party”.
He added: “This is not parliamentary language and these kinds of statements must not be used by any political leader.”
Congress spokesperson PL Punia said that all leaders must be careful and not hurt the sentiments of citizens.