Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam Working President MK Stalin on Friday said he hoped India’s southern states came together to demand autonomy for a separate Dravidanadu, The Hindu reported.

“If it [such a situation where southern states come together for the demand] comes, it would be welcome,” Stalin said in Erode. “We hope that such a situation arises.”

Conceptually, Dravidanadu is a separate nation geographically identified with South India and whose inhabitants belong to the Dravidian race, in contrast to the North Indian Aryans. Social reformer EV Ramasamy – popularly known as Periyar – was one of the first thinkers to propound the concept. He had led the Dravidian movement in Tamil Nadu.

The idea fizzled out gradually after the 1960s as the southern states got occupied with various other inter-state and intra-state problems.

P Maniarasan, the leader of the Tamil Desiya Periyakkam, dismissed Stalin’s statement. “If he is really serious about creating Dravidanadu, let him visit the neighbouring states and muster support,” he told The Hindu. “Is he ready to include the proposal in the election manifesto of his party? Is he ready to convene a special general council of the DMK to propagate the idea?”

‘South pays more taxes than it gets in return’: Siddaramaiah

Meanwhile, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah defended the state’s demand for a separate flag, and said it was not inconsistent with the idea of building a strong India. In a Facebook post on Friday, he wrote that the southern states pay more taxes to the Centre without getting enough returns. A developed South India has been subsidising the north, he wrote.

South India, with stable population growth, is not getting enough because population is a prominent criterion for the devolution of central taxes, he said.

“Historically, the South has been subsidising the north,” the post read. “Six states south of the Vindhyas contribute more taxes and get less. For example, for every one rupee of tax contributed by Uttar Pradesh that state receives Rs 1.79. For every one rupee of tax contributed by Karnataka, the state receives Rs 0.47.”