South India got step-motherly treatment, will play key role in voting out Modi: Tharoor
New Delhi: Alleging that south India received "step motherly" treatment under the Modi government, senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor said the south will play a key role in voting out the ruling dispensation and "overwhelmingly" side with the Congress.
Emphasising that all sections of the country are equally important to the Congress and have been equally sought after, he said party president Rahul Gandhi's decision to contest from Kerala's Wayanad sent a message that under Congress rule, the concerns and aspirations of southern states will not be ignored at the Centre.
"I think the south will definitely play an instrumental role in deciding the political fate of the country, particularly in the context of voting out the present ruling dispensation, under whose tenure, the south has an understandable case of step-motherly treatment under the Centre," Tharoor told PTI in an interview.
He alleged that in the last five years of BJP rule, there has been a "widespread assault" on the spirit of cooperative federalism which has held the country together since Independence.
"This is partly on account of cultural factors such as the beef ban and the drive to impose Hindi as a national language, but also because of larger issues such as the uproar regarding the terms of reference of the 15th Finance Commission which has implications on the financial and political security of the southern states," he said.
The Congress, particularly with Rahul Gandhi's decision to contest from the south, has made a very effective outreach towards the southern states, the former Union minister said.
The Congress chief contesting from Wayanad has sent a clear message that under Congress rule, the concerns and aspirations of these states will not be ignored at the Centre, least of all under a potential prime ministerial candidate who will be elected from the south, Tharoor said. "As my own experiences in Kerala tell me, this message has been widely and popularly received and it is clear that the south will overwhelmingly side with the Congress as the most credible alternative to the present ruling dispensation," the 63-year-old leader said. Tharoor, who is seeking a third straight Lok Sabha term from Thiruvanathapuram, which went to polls on April 23, also asserted that there will be a coalition government at the Centre after the elections and that the coalition is more likely to be UPA-3 rather than an NDA-3. PTI