With the debate over chanting of ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ intensifying, Union Minister M Venkaiah Naidu Tuesday said the Centre had issued no directive to force citizens to chant the slogan. He distanced himself and the government from controversial remarks made on the issue by party colleagues and sympathisers.
When asked about the statements made by Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, yoga guru Ramdev and RSS leader Bhaiyyaji Joshi on the chanting of the slogan, Naidu said: “I am not in agreement with them.. Has the government issued any circular? People have strong opinions in a democracy, but in the end what the government decides is binding on all… Their views are not authorised by the (central) government.”
In response to the Maharashtra CM’s alleged remark that those unwilling to say ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ had no right to stay in the country, Naidu retorted: “Did the Chief Minister pass any legislation on it?” But in the same breath, the Union minister said that people’s opinion on the matter should be taken as an “expression of nationalism”.
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“It’s not a Hindu slogan. Bhagat Singh, while walking towards the gallows, had chanted Bharat Mata Ki Jai,” he added.
Of late, several BJP leaders have taken a position claiming that only those who chant the slogan are patriots. Ramdev added fuel to the fire by claiming that if there were no laws in the country, he would have “beheaded” those refusing to chant the slogan. RSS leader Joshi had claimed that only those who considered India as their “bhogbhumi” (land of consumption) refused to chant the slogan.
On PM Narendra Modi’s suggestion of holding simultaneous Lok Sabha and Assembly polls to save time and resources, Naidu said: “I too am for it… It will reduce the expenses.”
BJP leader’s Trust makes slogan a must for admission
An educational trust based in Gujarat’s Amreli district, headed by BJP leader Dilip Sanghani, has made it mandatory to write ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ on admission forms. Shree Patel Vidyarthi Ashram Trust has made it compulsory for students seeking admission in its four institutes — including two high schools, one primary school and a physiotherapy college — to write the slogan on the forms or choose to be declined admission.
Sanghani said, “These days almost everyone is abusing the nation. By writing ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ on the admission form, we want to send across the message of respecting our country, mother India. Patriotism must be invoked at a young age.”
‘If chor, dakus chant slogan, will they become patriots’
“If chor and dakus chant Bharat Mata ki Jai, will they become patriots,” asked senior Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar Tuesday. He made the comment at a training programme for Congress workers when asked to clarify his earlier remark that the Constitution does not mandate chanting of the slogan. BJP’s Hitesh Bajpai attacked Aiyer and recalled that he had sought PM Narendra Modi’s removal when he was in Pakistan.