CHENNAI: DMK president M. K. Stalin on Sunday asserted that his party would never allow tampering of the basic structure of the Constitution, including secularism. Also, he lashed out at the BJP-led government accusing it of adopting a “big brother” attitude toward states.
A special resolution moved by Stalin at the party's general council meeting held here on Sunday condemned the BJP-led central government for moving towards 200 'Janpaths', abolishing the existing states and district structure.
Citing reports, the resolution said the party would oppose the central government's plans to have 200 'Janpaths' while abolishing the existing states and districts and urged it to drop any such move. It was the idea of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) to dismantle the existing governance structure and have a single structure with 200 'Janpaths', the party pointed out. “News has emerged that the BJP government is moving towards that plan; the DMK condemns it and we urge the Centre to give it up,” the resolution said.
The party also batted for amendments to the Constitution including one to make all 22 languages in the Eighth Schedule as India's official languages. Lauding the Centre's initiative to celebrate 70 years of adoption of the Constitution on November 26 in the Parliament, it noted the Constitution's preamble declared India a socialist, secular and democratic republic. Besides, the Supreme Court had held that features including the fundamental rights can never be amended and the party urged the Central government to bear this in mind.
“This general council makes is categorical that the DMK will never allow tampering of the basic structure of the Constitution,” the resolution said. Including this, a total number of 21 resolutions were passed at the meeting.
State autonomy is one of the cornerstones of the DMK's ideology and in 1957 the party had demanded capping Centre's powers in respect of administration and taxation. In 1974, then DMK chief M Karunanidhi had raised the slogan “mathiyil kootatchi and manilathil suyatchi” (meaning federal setup at the Centre and autonomy for state). Also, the DMK government during its first stint in power (1967-71) had submitted to the Rajamannar committee that barring areas like defence, external affairs, and currency, all others, including residuary powers, should be vested with the states, the party said.
The committee was set up by the Tamil Nadu government in 1969 to look into Centre-State relations and make suggestions for amendments to the Constitution to ensure maximum autonomy for states. The DMK said, in the past 70 years, experience showed that the Centre has “concentrated powers,” in its hands at the expense of states and the party viewed with concern the present day status of the powers given to the states.
Dwelling on amendments needed to the Constitution, DMK listed making all the 22 languages in the eight schedule as “India's official languages.” Ushering in the proportional representation of electoral system for Parliament and Assembly elections and transferring residuary powers from the Centre to States are the other amendments the party wanted.
“In areas like finance, education, subsidy and loans, the Centre, which is following a big brother attitude should be avoided and States should be given appropriate powers,” the party said adding it wanted appropriate Constitutional amendments to ensure fulfilment of its demands.
The party also demanded that the Centre scrap 10 per cent reservation for the economically backward, claiming it diluted the very concept of reservations. Alleging that Centre did not fully implement the reservation for OBCs, SCs and STs, the DMK wanted it to be corrected and pitched for increase in quota for OBCs to 50 per cent from the present 27 per cent. The party also wanted a “carry forward policy,” for unfulfilled job openings in the Centre.
M K Stalin gets additional powers of party general secretary
DMK president and leader of the opposition in the Assembly M. K. Stalin gets additional powers that have been vested with the party's ailing general secretary K. Anbazhagan.
As per the DMK's bylaws, a general secretary has the power to expel or include any person as primary member and drop or appoint persons to all party posts up to the level of district secretary.
Anbazhagan has not been able to fully discharge his duties owing to health related issues. On Sunday, the DMK general council, which met here, gave certain additional powers vested so far with the general secretary to Stalin. Although Stalin has been taking key decisions including the convening of the party meetings and ensuring changes, the official statements have been issued in the name of general secretary.
Stalin was elevated to the post of party president from working president in 2017 when the then president M. Karunanidhi was ill, even while retaining his post as DMK treasurer. Following the demise of the DMK patriarch, Stalin became the party president and party senior Duraimurugan replaced him as treasurer....