Chennai: Dravida Munnetra Kazhakam (DMK) leader A. Raja on Monday demanded ‘state autonomy’ to Tamil Nadu and said the Centre should not force Tamilians to seek a separate country.
Addressing a conference for local body representatives in Namakkal, the former Union minister said the Centre should not push the people of the state to the path of Thanthai Periyar who stood for an independent Tamil Nadu.
“I am telling (Union Home Minister) Amit Shah and Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) with utmost humility, I implore you in the presence of (our) leaders on the dais, our Chief Minister is journeying on the path of Anna (C N Annadurai, former Chief Minister and DMK founder), do not push us on the path of Periyar. Do not make us seek a separate country, give state autonomy and we will not rest till then,” Raja said in the presence Chief Minister Stalin and other top leaders.
Raja also took a swipe at Amit Shah over the latter’s remark that Hindi should be made the link language. Raja wondered if a language can unite a country and narrated an incidence when Muhammad Ali Jinnah spoke in Urudu in Dhakha.
“Soon after Pakistan was born, the nation’s father Jinnah went to Dacca – in East Pakistan – and was speaking in Urdu, when a young boy stood up and said they knew Bangla, and not Urdu. Despite this, he continued to speak in Urdu that led to the split of Pakistan,” Raja was quoted as saying by The News Minute.
Tamil Nadu BJP lambasted the DMK leader for his remarks and said it was not a matter of surprise as the DMK is known for its ‘divisive’ attitude.
“But what is shocking and surprising is that Chief Minister M K Stalin remained a mute spectator. I condemn his silence. He has taken oath of office, affirming allegiance to the Constitution,” BJP vice-president Narayanan Tirupathi said.