After Meerut and Moradabad, BJP-affiliated mayors of Varanasi and Gorakhpur have announced that ‘Vande Mataram’ will be sung at every meeting of the municipal corporations. Several Muslim and non-Muslim corporators from opposition parties objected to “the new tradition”, which started at meetings of the two municipal corporations on Saturday. In Varanasi, BJP corporator Ajay Gupta put forth a proposal that ‘Vande Mataram’ must be sung before House proceedings. Corporators from SP and Congress objected, saying this has not been the tradition. However, BJP corporators and Mayor Ram Gopal Mohley went ahead with the plan, and the song was sung.
Mohley said he later issued an order that all meetings of the municipal corporation will start with ‘Vande Mataram’ and end with the playing of the national anthem. “The proposal of singing the national song was given to the House. But corporators linked to SP started raising slogans against RSS. I have ordered that all meetings which I attend will start with the national song,” he said.
SP corporator Vijay Jaiswal said, “There has been no such tradition in Varanasi or any other corporation. They only wanted to create a controversy.”
Gorakhpur Mayor Satya Pandey announced at Saturday’s meeting that it would conclude with the singing of Vande Mataram. Many SP corporators objected and over a dozen Muslim corporators walked out. “It’s not a crime to sing Vande Mataram. Most corporators sang it. Only a few SP leaders objected to it. We are not trying to link nationalism with elections.” “I have decided that the national song will be played at all meetings of the corporation.”