- PM Modi likens bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh to India's partition in 1947
- Rajiv Gandhi hurt "Telugu pride", insulted Andhra Congress leader: PM
- PM says Congress "hastily" divided Andhra Pradesh for political gains
Prime Minister Narendra Modi once again showed that he is most certainly a smart politician. That is why while he was still being heckled by the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and other parties in parliament over unfulfilled promises to Andhra Pradesh, he spoke about "Telugu pride".
Hitting two targets with one stone, PM Modi made a reference to a widely known incident in which Rajiv Gandhi, the father of Congress president Rahul Gandhi, called then Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister T Anjaiah of the Congress a "buffoon" at Hyderabad's Begumpet airport in 1982.
Rajiv Gandhi, who was then Congress general secretary and had arrived in Hyderabad for a private visit, had reportedly lashed out at Mr Anjaiah publicly for bringing a large number of party men to the airport tarmac.
PM Modi said it was in reaction to this insult of a "Dalit chief minister" that legendary actor NT Rama Rao left films and decided to start the TDP to save "Telugu atmagouravam" or Telugu pride.
Raising that episode in parliament to demonstrate what he repeatedly called the Congress's arrogance and patchy record with democracy, PM Modi ripped into the opposition party for "dividing" Andhra Pradesh, likening it to the 1947 partition.
"This is your character. You divided India. Even after 70 years of Independence, 125 crore people of India continue to suffer because of the poison you sowed. Not a single day passes when people of India are not punished for your sins," PM Modi said, speaking in the Lok Sabha on the Motion of Thanks to the President's address.
The Prime Minister said the Congress "hastily" divided the southern state for political gains.
PM Modi's comments are significant at a time the TDP, his party's biggest south ally, has been displaying its anger at what it feels the centre's neglect.
TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu, the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, is deeply upset that his state didn't get a special consideration in the Budget. It took phone calls from Amit Shah and Rajnath Singh to calm him on Sunday, when he met with top party leaders to decide on the future of the alliance.