“Old habit of 70 years can’t go away so easily”: PM Modi slams North-South debate over assembly poll results

A new North-South debate was triggered on Sunday after the country’s incumbent Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) swept the Hindi heartland, comprising Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, while primary opposition Congress pulled off a stunning victory in southern India’s Telangana.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Image Courtesy: PIB

Incidentally, Congress had dislodged BJP from power in Karnataka, another south state, earlier in 2023.

The new political equation in the Hindi heartland has prompted some on social media to suggest that people in the northern part of the country vote allegedly for religion, while in the south, issues are prioritised.

The debate was further fuelled by a tweet from DMK MP DNV Senthilkumar. Following a backlash, the politician tendered an apology.

Not just him, Congress leader Praveen Chakravarty also tweeted:”The South-North boundary line getting thicker and clearer.” However, he later deleted the tweet.

Weighing in on the debate, the Prime Minister took to X to call out the opposition over the issue.

Modi wrote, “May they be happy with their arrogance, lies, pessimism and ignorance. But… Beware of their divisive agenda.

“An old habit of 70 years can’t go away so easily. Also, such is the wisdom of the people that they have to be prepared for many more meltdowns ahead.”

The Prime Minister’s sentiment was also echoed by many, who rubbished the North-South claim. Among the ones who supported the idea of India as a whole are political expert Yashwant Deshmukh, and journalist-author Savio Rodrigues.

The assembly polls in these states were touted as a semi-final contest ahead of the general elections in less than six months.

On the BJP’s impressive performance in the Assembly elections, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the results indicate that “Indians are firmly with politics of good governance”.

As party workers celebrated with crackers, drums and sweets, he said the efforts to divide people on the basis of caste did not work. Those abusing the investigating agencies have been rejected too, the Prime Minister added.

Despite a less-than-stellar performance in Telangana, the BJP managed to inflict significant damage in the closely watched Kamareddy Assembly constituency.