A video of DMK leader Dayanidhi Maran, which party sources claim is old, can spell trouble for the unity of INDIA bloc at a time when it is gearing up for the big Lok Sabha contest just a few months away.
In a video, the authenticity of which NDTV cannot verify, DMK MP Dayanidhi Maran is heard comparing the job prospects of those who have studied only Hindi with those who know English. In this context, he says those who study only Hindi in Bihar “build houses” and “clean toilets” in Tamil Nadu.
“Only because they (people here) studied English, today they earn fat salaries in IT companies. They say ‘Hindi Hindi’. You know well who build buildings. Those who study only Hindi in Bihar build houses for us in Tamil Nadu, sweep roads and clean toilets,” Mr Maran was heard saying in the video that has now gone viral.
I.N.D.I Alliance leader and DMK MP Dayanidhi Maran says Hindi speakers from UP and Bihar come and clean toilets in TN.
Rahul Gandhi and Nitish Kumar must clarify, if this is the stated position of the Congress and JDU too.
I.N.D.I Alliance’s divisive agenda is out in full force… pic.twitter.com/i4wwLbYisW
— Amit Malviya (@amitmalviya) December 24, 2023
While Mr Maran could not be reached, sources from the DMK have claimed it was an old video that has been recirculated by the BJP. The DMK sources said the BJP has recirculated the video to divert attention from the backlash Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman faces amid her face-off with the Tamil Nadu government over its demand for flood relief funds.
Hindi imposition is an emotive issue in Tamil Nadu and the DMK has been at the forefront of agitations against alleged attempts to impose Hindi in the southern state.
The video of Mr Maran, meanwhile, has sparked a political row, drawing criticism from leaders of both the BJP and INDIA ally Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) in Bihar.
Bihar’s Deputy Chief Minister and RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav condemned the remarks. “This is condemnable. Leaders from other states, irrespective of which party they belong to, should avoid making such remarks. This country is one. We respect people from other states and we expect the same. Such remarks should not be made,” he told the media.
The DMK leader’s viral video drew fire from Union Minister and Bihar leader Giriraj Singh. Mr Singh used the opportunity to launch a scathing attack on the DMK as well as its ally Congress. “The language of Congress and DMK is a language to break the country. People from Bihar, wherever they go, work hard, and it is not a crime to work with self-respect. They contribute to that state’s development,” he said.
The firebrand BJP leader accused DMK of insulting the country and referred to party leader Udhayanidhi Stalin’s comments on Sanatan Dharma that had sparked a huge row. “They have done this earlier. They spoke about finishing Sanatan, now they are targeting labourers. This is unfortunate. and Rahul Gandhi derives enjoyment from such remarks,” he said.
BJP leader Amit Malviya shared the video, saying Rahul Gandhi and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar should clarify if the DMK leader’s remarks are in line with their parties’ position.
Earlier, INDIA parties influential in the northern part of the country were caught on a sticky wicket by Mr Stalin’s Sanatana Dharma remarks. The fresh controversy comes at a time when the Opposition bloc is racing against time to iron out internal conflicts and regional rivalries and gear up for the big fight against a formidable BJP.