Will never allow tampering of Constitution: DMK

Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) President MK Stalin. (PTI Photo)

DMK chief M K Stalin on Sunday asserted his party will never allow tampering of the basic structure of the Constitution, including secularism, and hit out at the BJP-led government accusing it of adopting a "big brother" attitude toward states.

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. A special resolution to this effect was moved by Stalin and adopted at the DMK's general council meeting here. It also alleged that BJP's parent body RSS was for doing away with states and districts and putting in place a single administrative command by dividing the entire nation into "200 janpaths". "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.

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.

State autonomy is one of the cornerstones of the DMK's ideology and as early as 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" which meant a federal setup at the Centre and autonomy for the 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, however, 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 the 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 fulfillment of its demands. Also, the party 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 an increase in quota for OBCs to 50 per cent from the present 27 per cent. The party also wanted "carry forward policy," for unfulfilled job openings in the Centre. 

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