Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said that South India could lose 100 Lok Sabha seats if the Congress’s philosophy of “Jitni Aabadi, Utna Haq” were to be considered for the exercise of delimitation.
The Prime Minister addressed a rally in poll-bound Telangana where his party, the BJP, has been striving to establish itself. He said delimitation based on population would lead to a fall in representation in Parliament for the South.
Andhra Pradesh (25), Kerala (20), Telangana (17), Tamil Nadu (39) and Karnataka (28) account for 129 of the 543 seats in Lok Sabha.
“The country is now talking about the next delimitation. It will mean that wherever the population is less, the Lok Sabha seats will come down, and rise where the population is high… The southern states have achieved remarkable progress in population control, but will stand to lose heavily if the Congress’s new idea of rights in proportion to population is implemented… South India stands to lose 100 Lok Sabha seats… Will South India accept this? Will South India forgive the Congress? I want to tell Congress leaders not to fool the nation. Make it clear why they are playing this game,” Modi was quoted as saying.
He asked both the INDIA alliance and Congress to “clarify if they are against South India”.
“I want to specify that this new thought (Jitni aabadi, utna haq) is injustice to southern India,” he said.
Reports pointed out that the remarks by the PM came following indications that the release of the caste census data in Bihar had surprised BJP, which owes much of its success to OBCs that back the Prime Minister in northern states.
Even though the party stands to benefit from the delimitation exercise owing to an expected rise in the number of seats in North India, a region that backs him, it’s not the same story in the south.
The Prime Minister asked if Hindus, who comprised the largest population, claimed their rights. “Is the Congress trying to reduce the rights of the minorities? And if the decision is to be made on the basis of population, who has the first right? Who has the largest population? Should rights be according to population? The Congress should make it clear,” he said.
Congress leaders say rights should be according to the size of the population. I say the largest population in the country is that of the poor. The welfare of the poor is my only goal,” PM Modi said.
Political analyst Suvrokamal Dutta believes that the Prime Minister’s move may expose contradictions in the opposition camp.
He told media outlets: “The Samajwadi Party already sounds uncomfortable (with Nitish Kumar’s caste census). Moreover, would Mamata Banerjee or Uddhav Thackeray agree with the Congress and demand a nationwide caste census? The Congress, in my opinion, would find it tough to get several parties who have positioned themselves as semi-urbanised, progressive, and have traditionally seen the Congress as regressive as the BJP, on board on the caste census issue. Would Left parties, who have ideologically been opposed to the caste system itself, and aim to build a casteless society affiliate with the Congress on the issue of caste census? I don’t believe so.”
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