Delhi-centricism is real, and it is nurtured by the dynastic Congress system, but it can’t be used to foment North-South division on artificial lines
Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah in a tweet referred to PM Narendra Modi, BJP President Amit Shah and UP CM Yogi Aidtyanath as “North Indian imports”. In another tweet he accused Modi of ‘Hindi imposition’ for speaking in Hindi in rallies. Andhra Pradesh CM Chandrababu Naidu after breaking ties with the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), has repeatedly accused Modi government of neglecting his State. He along with his Telangana, Karnataka, Kerala counterparts have called for a united front against the so-called injustice meted out to the southern states by the Central Government.
So what exactly has transpired for these leaders and political parties to take a stand which is antithetical to the emotions of the very people they claim to represent? What has driven them to abet the North-South divide which is anti-Constitutional and encourages separatism? Is it the fear of their own political irrelevance staring at them in their respective states? Or is it an attempt to escape the scrutiny of their impropriety while in power? While every political party is entitled to its strategies, they cannot adopt an anti-national approach by raking up chauvinistic issues to play with the emotions of the people.
Spotting the Pattern
The approach of all these leaders exhibit a pattern. Starting from a political novice like Kamal Haasan in Tamil Nadu to seasoned politicians like Chandrababu Naidu, all arguments revolve around getting a raw deal from the Centre. Kamal Hassan went a step further and has hinted at a separate nation comprising of the Southern States.
Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah has been adept at dividing the society ever since he came to power. Whether it was the caste based census or instigating a separate religion for Lingayats and now furthering the North-South divide, has only supplemented the inherent Congress agenda of Divide-and-Rule. CM of Kerala, Pinarayi Vijayan who follows a similar agenda has supported Siddaramaiah as expected. The failure of Siddaramaiah’s government to deliver on several fronts give credence to the accusation that he is only trying to obfuscate the issues plaguing Karnataka.
The Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao has joined the bandwagon only to safeguard the interests of his family and party at the cost of his state. Ever since he became the CM of the new state he has been a puppet in the hands of communal MIM party. Only to placate his rabid coalition partners, KCR’s government passed a resolution for 12% reservation for Muslims despite being aware of the fact that the religion based reservations are not permissible under Indian constitution.
Similar is the case with CM of Andhra and his party the Telugu Desam Party. Nothing under the AP reorganisation act, except the tag of special category state, has been denied after the promulgation of 14th Finance Commission. Moreover, the agreed time frame to implement the recommendations of the reorganization act was 10 years but Chandrababu Naidu now demands that it be done in 4 years! Allegations of corruption in building the new capital of Amaravathi, favoritism to the firms of his kin, improper utilization of funds are some of the charges that gives his game away. All he has to fall back on is blaming Modi and the Central Government for neglecting the interests of ‘Telugus’. While Naidu alleges that the Centre robbed the State of its rightful share in revenues, Andhra got 42% of the share which was 32% earlier. It is interesting to note that CB Naidu never once leveled similar allegations when he was part of NDA for 4 years.
In Tamil Nadu, it is either a battle for political relevance or attempt to pitch self as the alternative. After Jayalalitha’s demise, there has been a leadership vacuum in Tamil Nadu. AIADMK has splintered into groups and no single leader controls the party as earlier. The previous tenure of DMK was replete with corruption, favoritism, dynastic politics and governance had taken a backseat. DMK chief Karunanidhi has since faded from active politics and is fostering his son, Stalin, to take over the reins of the party. Stalin has neither the charisma nor any connect with people like his father. With the Dravidian narrative withering away and politics of freebies dying a slow death, the anti-North narrative comes in handy when he and his party do not have anything else to lean back on in terms of performance or visionary politics.
Language chauvinism is the favorite recipe of the syndicate of leaders bolstering the North-South divide. Their common refrain is that the centre is pushing Hindi at the cost of regional languages. In Karnataka, the issue took ans ugly turn with pro-Kannada outfits blackening Hindi name boards in Metro and other places saying that it was Hindi imposition. Shamefully, Siddaramaiah’s Government instead of reining in such rowdy elements stood by them as it saw an opportunity to blame Modi. On the contrary, railway tickers were provisioned in Kannada for the first time after the Ministry of Railways under Piyush Goyal mandated that all tickets will also be printed in the regional language. This was a long standing demand of the states that was neglected by the Congress led UPA. Another persistent demand of conducting the Railway exams in Kannada and other regional languages was also honored by the Modi government in February 2018. The pro-Kannada outfits and Siddaramaiah have ungraciously remained silent on these developments which are in the interests of regional languages.
Markers of Unity
One of the foremost Kannada poet, author and Jnanpith awardee ‘Rashtrakavi’ Kuvempu, wrote the famous poem ‘Jaya Bharata Jananiya Tanujate’ meaning ‘Victory to you Mother Karnataka, the daughter of Mother India!’ This poem is Karnataka’s State anthem. Not just this anthem, Kuvempu in many of his poems and writings saw all Indians as children of the same mother. Today those who claim to be the champions of Kannada and Karnataka’s interests are dishonoring Kuvempu by fomenting parochialism and hate for sons of Bharat Mata from other states.
Common man aspires for a better quality of life and not accusations. They wish for ample job opportunities and not dole-outs. Though language, cultural identify, and local interests form the bedrock of our existence, people are not interested in furthering parochial agendas at the cost of the nation. This was at display in Udupi recently while PM Modi was addressing a rally in the temple town. His speech was being translated to Kannada as he spoke. However, after a few minutes, people themselves demanded that they wish to hear him in Hindi and no translation was required. This incident repudiates the ‘Hindi imposition’ narrative peddled by Siddaramaiah and gang against the Centre.
India is the fastest growing economy today and its influence on the world has increased manifold. Nationalistic forces are on the rise and people are finding more than one reason to unite. It is this unity that is an anathema for many political parties to gain the lost ground or remain in power. It is apparent now that while some political parties have been aligning with outside entities like Cambridge Analytica to divide people on caste and parochial lines, few others are aligning with Jihadist elements. It is these machinations that are also furthering the artificial North-South divide. Attempts to create artificial divisions are to be condemned unequivocally. It is the duty of those who stand for the nation’s interest to expose their ulterior political motives. Hope Karnataka shows the way before the cancer spreads.
PM Modi- The Unifier
With Narendra Modi at the helm of affairs now, all the made-up divisions, which were disguised as real, have started withering away.
"We are working towards promoting "Ease of Doing Business", Congress is ensuring "Ease of Doing Murder" in Karnataka," said PM Modi during his Bengaluru rally. Ever since PM Modi took charge, one can observe a remarkable shift in the earlier Delhi-centred policy prism, which made the people of South India feel dejected.
There has been a remarkable shift in federal relations between the Centre and States. The change is visible in all the essential aspects of the relations like - the division of expenditure responsibilities, fiscal assignments and intergovernmental transfer arrangements and seeks to grant more financial autonomy to the States. To accelerate the change further, new institutions like NITI Aayog were set up and the GST Council was formed. By pushing the envelope, PM Modi shifted the focus on cooperative federalism and then competitive cooperative federalism.
Some of the concerns of the States of South India are true. There has been a historic injustice due to the administrative centralisation of Delhi based policy prism. But, Congress-led political system has to be blamed for this. With Narendra Modi at the helm of affairs now, all the made-up divisions, which were disguised as real, have started withering away.
“There is no North Indian or South Indian. We are all one and should have a holistic view . No one should divide people. These are the machinations of a few intellectuals and the country cannot run as per their whims. People are observing everything. They will express their view through the ballot in the upcoming elections.
Famous poet and lyricist
“No doubt local languages have to get the respect and preference they deserve and there should not be imposition of any one language. The RSS too has urged for promoting the mother tongue in education and elsewhere. Differences in opinions should not lead to divisions.”