"Not My Intent": DMK MP Apologises After Controversial Remark On Heartland States

DNV Senthilkumar's remark was used by the BJP to attack not only the DMK, but also the INDIA alliance.

'Not My Intent': DMK MP Apologises After Controversial Remark On Heartland States

The remark was expunged from the record.

Hours after stirring up a controversy with his remark on Hindi heartland states in the Lok Sabha, DMK MP DNV Senthilkumar has apologised and said that he ended up using a word in a misleading way. The MP's remark, which was expunged from the record, was used by the BJP to attack not only the DMK, but also the INDIA alliance.

A controversial statement on Sanatana Dharma by DMK leader and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin's son Udhayanidhi Stalin in September had also been used by the BJP to attack the Congress in the run-up to the Assembly polls last month. After the party won in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, many BJP leaders had pointed to the remark and said voters had taken note of the INDIA alliance's "hatred" for Hinduism. The Congress managed to win only in Telangana.

Speaking in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday, Mr Senthilkumar made the remark and also said, "You (BJP) cannot come to South India. You see all the results of what happens in Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka ... we are very strong over there." 

"We will not be surprised if you have an option of converting all these states into Union territories so that you can come into indirect power because you can never dream of setting foot over there and taking control of all the southern states," news agency PTI quoted the MP as saying. 

Issuing an apology later, Mr Senthilkumar posted on X: "Commenting on the results of the five recent state assembly elections, I have used a word in an inappropriate way. Not using that term with any intent, I apologize for sending the wrong meaning across."

Tamil Nadu BJP president K Annamalai had condemned Mr Senthilkumar's remarks and said that the level of the DMK's discourse was "sinking" like cyclone-hit Chennai.

"Chennai is sinking due to the misgovernance of DMK & and so is their level of discourse on the floor of the Parliament. He has possibly forgotten that the NDA Alliance is in power in Puducherry and was in power in Karnataka until recently. The arrogance of DMK will be the prime reason for their downfall!" he posted on X

Former Karnataka Minister CT Ravi of the BJP hit out at the Congress and asked whether party leader Rahul Gandhi endorsed such remarks. 

Mr Ravi posted on X: "Will I.N.D.I. Alliance leader Rahul Gandhi agree with this DMK man who has insulted Bharatiyas of the Heartland States? How long will CONgress and its allies insult Bharatiyas?"