Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday described protests by Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and the Congress on the issue of tax devolution to the southern state as “efforts to break the country” and endanger the future of India.

The PM was replying to the President’s Address in the Rajya Sabha and took issue with Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, who led a protest of party MPs and MLAs in the capital. “The way language is being spoken these days to break the country, these new narratives are being made for political gains. An entire state is speaking this language; nothing can be worse for the country than this. What language have we started speaking?” the PM asked.

The PM was speaking even as the Karnataka CM, deputy CM DK Shivakumar, Ministers in the State Cabinet, MLAs, and MPs shouted slogans in Delhi’s Jantar Mantar against “injustice” to the State in tax devolution and grants-in-aid, which, they alleged, has led to losses to the tune of ₹1.87-lakh crore in the 15th Finance Commission.

‘Dangerous narrative’

The PM said this line of thinking creates a misleading and dangerous narrative.

“This nation is not just a piece of land for us. It is like the human body; if there is pain somewhere, the hand doesn’t say that the thorn is in the foot, and it doesn’t concern me. if there is pain anywhere in this country, pain should be felt by everyone,” he said

Modi said that if one body part is not functioning, it affects the entire body system. Similarly, he said that if any part of the country is left without development, then the whole country cannot develop. “We should look at the country as one and not separate parts,” he said.

He cited the example of the Himalayas, saying, What if one starts saying that rivers flow from there and they won’t be shared with others?”. “What will happen to the country? Where will this stop? In States that have coal, if they say that we won’t share it with others, how will the country function? If eastern states had said that we wouldn’t share oxygen with other regions, what would have happened?” he asked.

’Desh ke andar yeh bhav todne ka kya prayas ho raha hai?’ (What is this narrative being played to break the nation). ‘Hamara tax hamara money’, (Our tax, our money) what is this language being spoken? Stop creating such new narratives to break the nation. It poses a threat to the future of the country,” he said.