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Centre Wants States to Come to it with ‘Begging Bowl’: Yechury

In Nation, News, Political Leaders, Political News
February 08, 2024

NEW DELHI:
CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury hit back at Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday for accusing the opposition of trying to create a north-south divide and said the chief ministers of Delhi and Punjab joining a protest staged by Kerala government leaders shows that there is no such division.

Speaking at the Left Democratic Front’s (LDF) protest to “protect federalism”, which was attended by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, his Punjab counterpart Bhagwant Mann and National Conference (NC) leader Farooq Abdullah, Yechury accused the BJP-led Centre of trying to convert India’s “secular, democratic republic” character into a “fascistic, rabidly intolerant Hindutva rashtra”.

“The prime minister said the opposition is trying to create a north-south divide. The prime minister needs to understand India’s geography. Mr Kejriwal is not south, Mr Mann is not south, Mr Farooq Abdullah from Kashmir is not south. Perhaps he does not know about the geography of India. This is not a north-south fight, it is for the rights given by the Constitution,” the Left leader said.

“It is the Constitution of India that says that India is a Union of states. Without states, there is no Union. According to Prime Minister Modi, you are going to have only a Union and no states now,” he added.

Yechury said the Centre wants the states to come to it with a “begging bowl” for their due share.

“This is not acceptable. Why is this happening? It is not just because of the authoritarian trend. Of course, they want to centralise power, but the larger issue is they want to convert the character of our secular, democratic republic into a fascistic, rabidly intolerant Hindutva rashtra,” he said, adding, “For that, they need a unitary State structure, not a federal State structure.”

“This entire drive towards a unitary State structure is part of a larger construct of converting the character of our country from being a secular, democratic republic into a fascistic, authoritarian Hindutva rashtra. That is the fundamental point we have to bear in mind,” Yechury said.

Communist Party of India (CPI) general secretary D Raja accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of trying to divide the country.

“The prime minister says the opposition is dividing the country into north and south…. It is you who is dividing people in the name of religion and caste. Now, you are dividing the country into north-south,” he alleged.

Raja said according to the Constitution, India should remain a secular, democratic, republican State.

“You are trying to make it a theocratic State. Do you think we will keep quiet?” he asked.

The ruling LDF, led by Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, staged a protest in the national capital on Thursday against the alleged neglect by the Centre towards the southern state in financial matters.

DMK leaders Tiruchi Siva and Palanivel Thiagarajan, and former Congress leader and Rajya Sabha MP Kapil Sibal also took part in the protest.

On Wednesday, when Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah led a protest at Jantar Mantar along with MPs and MLAs from the southern state, Modi, in his reply to the debate on the Motion of Thanks to the President’s Address in the Rajya Sabha, accused the Congress of creating narratives that seek to divide the nation.