AS NEWLY ELECTED members of municipal corporations, nagar panchayats and nagar palika parishads took oath across UP on Tuesday, there were reports of verbal duels between BJP and BSP corporators of Aligarh and Meerut municipal corporations over raising of religious slogans as well as Vande Mataram.
The oath ceremony in Meerut had to be put on hold for sometime after BJP corporators raised Vande Mataram slogans, while BSP corporators shouted ‘Jai Bheem’. In Aligarh, BSP corporator Musharraf Hussain took oath in Urdu amid slogans of ‘Har Har Mahadev’, ‘Jai Sri Ram’ and Vande Mataram raised by BJP members.
Aligarh and Meerut are the only civic bodies that have been won by BSP in the recent urban local body polls. The rest went to BJP. Meerut Mayor Sunita Verma said: “BJP corporators are creating an unnecessary issue… they just wanted to disturb the oath ceremony. No one is stopping them from raising Vande Mataram, but they cannot force others to do it and that also in an abrupt manner. As soon as I tried to take oath, people started shouted Vande Mataram just to create trouble.”
“They continued to raise slogans like ‘Jai Shri Ram’, ‘Jai Modi’ and ‘Jai Yogi’. It was not a political platform but the oath-taking ceremony. But they continued even as the administration tried to stop them… so, even BSP leaders started raising slogans like Jai Bheem.”
“Vande Mataram is recited neither in Parliament nor in Assembly. They are unnecessarily creating an issue. I will try to resolve the issue before the first session so that the focus would be on development,” said Verma.
In Aligarh, as BSP corporator Musharraf Hussain took oath in Urdu amid slogans of ‘Har Har Mahadev’, ‘Jai Sri Ram’ and ‘Vande Mataram’, BJP corporators alleged that taking oath in Urdu was illegal. “I took oath in Urdu amid disruption by members of the ruling party,” Hussain said.
Aligarh District Magistrate Hrishikesh Bhaskar Yashod denied that there was any tussle over chanting of Vande Mataram and other religious slogans. “There was some unnecessary sloganeering but ultimately, the programme went off peacefully,” he said.