BJP leader and Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma claimed on Sunday, 22 May, that Congress leader Rahul Gandhi is speaking of breaking up the country when he refers to India as a Union of states.
Biswa Sarma, who was speaking at an event in Delhi to mark 75 years of RSS-linked magazines Panchjanya and Organiser, asserted, "When Congress called itself Indian National Congress and held meetings across India, did it mean it as a Union of states? By calling it a Union of states, Rahul Gandhi is speaking of breaking up the country. Indirectly he is encouraging secessionist sentiments. It is no different from what ULFA says, only the language used may be different.”
The BJP has repeatedly made such attacks against Rahul Gandhi for having referred to India as a "Union of states" in remarks made in February 2022.
BJP leaders have claimed that Rahul Gandhi's comment is "deeply problematic and dangerous", "strikes at the core of idea of independent India", etc.
For example, here's what Amit Malviya, BJP leader and head of the party's National Information & Technology (IT) Department, had tweeted.
And then, on 3 February 2022, a day after Rahul Gandhi referred to India as a "Union of states" in the Lok Sabha, BJP MP Nishikant Dubey gave a notice for breach of privilege against him, claiming Rahul had attempted to “incite MPs and the nation” with his remark.
But…It’s Exactly What the Constitution Says
Yep, that's right. India being a "Union of states" isn't some phrase coined by Rahul Gandhi. In fact, India is referred to as a Union of states in the Constitution as well.
Right after the Preamble, Part 1 of the Constitution begins, and the very first line reads:
1. Name and territory of the Union.—(1) India, that is Bharat, shall be a Union of States
Rahul Gandhi has, in the past, responded to the criticism from the BJP and defended his comment on these grounds. Addressing a rally in Manipur in February, Rahul had said, “I spoke in Parliament about the situation in our country. Over there, I described our country as a Union of States. This is the definition of our India in the Constitution. In the Constitution, we chose to define ourselves as a Union of States.”
But as Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma's comments on Sunday show, the BJP continues to attack Rahul over his remark. Regardless of the fact that it is exactly what the Constitution of India says as well.