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Union govt or Central govt? DMK ignites war of words with BJP

On Wednesday, Chief Minister M.K. Stalin stated unequivocally that the DMK government would continue to refer to the Centre as the  ‘Union government,’ recalling that the DMK had used the term ‘Indian Union’ in its election manifesto in 1957. According to him, the Constitution also refers to India as a ‘union of States.’ ‘We have used it and will continue to use it,’ he said in the Assembly, in response to BJP floor leader Nainar Nagendran’s question about whether there was a reason for using the word ‘union.’

Since taking over the reins of the new government, Mr. Stalin and the DMK have been using the term ‘Union government’ instead of ‘Central government.’ When Mr. Nagendran demanded a response from the Chief Minister, Mr. Stalin stated that there was no need to be afraid of the word because of Rajaji [C. Rajagopalachari] had spoken out against the excessive concentration of power at the Centre and in favor of true federalism. ‘Late Ma.Po.Si [Sivagnanam] used the term samasti,’ he explained.

Mr. Stalin said there was no need to treat the usage of the word ‘union’ as a ‘social crime’ because some people were taking it in that sense. ‘We are using only what is in the Constitution,’ he said, recalling the phrase, ‘India, that is Bharat, shall be a union of States.’

He said India was constituted by its States. ‘Some accuse us of using a word not used by our leaders Anna (C.N. Annadurai) and Kalaignar (M. Karunanidhi). But the DMK used the term Indian Union in its election manifesto in 1957,’ he said.

He also recalled Anna’s speech in the Rajya Sabha on January 25, 1963, in which he said: ‘As per the preface to the Constitution, the sovereignty resides in the people, and legal sovereignty is divided between a federal union and its constituents, that is the States.’


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