Congress MP Rahul Gandhi lashed out at the BJP while speaking for the Opposition in the Lok Sabha during the debate on the Motion of Thanks on the President's address.

Explained Rahuls speech on Union of states and why Amit Malviyas response is wrong
news Parliament Thursday, February 03, 2022 - 10:56

Congress Member of Parliament Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday, February 2, created an uproar after he lashed out at the BJP, saying that the party cannot treat India as its ‘kingdom’ as India is a Union of States. Gandhi spoke about the importance of cooperative federalism, saying that the only way India has been ruled over the decades is through conversations. But the MP’s speech has created a big controversy. BJP leaders, including IT Cell head Amit Malviya, have hit back at the MP, but Malviya's counter is also being criticised. Here's what Rahul Gandhi said and why Amit Malviya's counter is flawed.  

What Rahul Gandhi said

The Congress MP from Wayanad was speaking for the Opposition in the Lok Sabha during the debate on the Motion of Thanks on the President's address. Rahul Gandhi said that the Union government lacked any idea of history and they sought to suppress the concept of Union of States as against the idea of a king. 

"India is described in the Constitution as a union of states and not as a nation. One cannot rule over the people of a state in India. Different languages and cultures cannot be suppressed. It is a partnership, not a kingdom," he said.

Gandhi accused the ruling BJP of bringing back the idea of a "king of India" that was "smashed in 1947" and targeted the Prime Minister, saying that the "idea of a king is back.”

“There is a vision that India can be ruled by a stick from the Centre. Every time that has happened, the stick has been broken," he said. "That is the only way India has been ruled. You can look at Ashoka, Maurya, the country has always been ruled by conversation and negotiation,” he added. 

"There are two competing visions of India. One, of a Union of States, where decisions are taken through conversation and negotiation — a partnership of equals. Meaning, I go to my brother in Tamil Nadu and I say, ‘what do you want?’ and he says, ‘this is what I want.’ He then asks me ‘what do you want?’ and I say ‘this is what I want’. It is a partnership, it is not a kingdom. You will never, ever in your entire life, rule over the people of Tamil Nadu. It can’t be done,” he said, adding that BJP's flawed vision has weakened India.

Also read: ‘You will never rule over the people of Tamil Nadu’: Rahul Gandhi slams Union govt

What Amit Malviya said

Shortly after Rahul Gandhi’s speech, Amit Malviya, in-charge of BJP's National Information and Technology Department took to Twitter to allege that the Congress MP’s speech that it was ‘not a nation but a Union of states’ was “deeply problematic and dangerous.” He alleged that the MP has not ‘understood the Constitution’ and that it ‘strikes at the core of independent India. 

However, many on social media corrected him and pointed that the Constitution, in fact, calls India a Union of states. 

What the Constitution says

The very first Article under the Constitution calls India a ‘Union of States.’ Here’s what Article 1 says: “India, that is Bharat, shall be a Union of States.” Several Twitter users lashed out at Amit Malviya for calling Article 1 of the Constitution ‘deeply problematic and dangerous.’ 

India has a quasi-federal form of government. The power to govern is divided between a government for the whole country, which is responsible for subjects of common national interest, and the states, which look after the detailed day-to-day governing of the state. The Union government, however, has more powers than the state governments.

Constitutional expert Subash Kashyap had earlier told TNM that the makers of the Constitution were very clear to add ‘Union of States’ into the Constitution, so that the relationship between the two governments — Union and States — is not unequal. Speaking over the DMK government’s use of ‘Ondriya Arasu’ instead of ‘Mathiya Arasu,’ Kashyap had then said, “In India, the relationship between the Union government and States, as per the Constitution, is actually a relationship between the whole and its parts. The relation between the whole and its parts is definitely different from the relation between a centre and its periphery.“