There was fracas in the Maharashtra Assembly on Friday with Samajwadi Party MLA Abu Asim Azmi squaring off against the ruling party MLAs over singing of “Vande Mataram”.
On Thursday, BJP MLA Raj Purohit had stated that he would urge Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to adopt a policy on the lines of the Madras High Court judgement making singing of “Vande Mataram” compulsory.
Subsequently, Azmi had responded saying he would not sing “Vande Mataram” even if he is “thrown out of the country”.
On Friday, BJP MLA Anil Gote took umbrage at Azmi’s remarks in the Legislative Assembly. “There should not be any opposition to Vande Mataram. It is a patriotic song and it should not be opposed by people like Abu Azmi,” Gote said.
When Azmi rose to respond, he was shouted down and later, he got involved in a slanging match with the BJP MLAs. “If a person lives and feeds on the soil of this country, what is wrong in being grateful to it? You are born here and after your death, you will be buried in the same land. Why can’t you respect the soil by saying ‘Vande Mataram’?” senior BJP leader Eknath Khadse questioned Azmi. Azmi said saying “Vande Mataram” was against the tenets of his faith and he was ready to say Hindustan Zindabad thousands of times. “I am opposing any move to make singing of ‘Vande Mataram’ mandatory. If my faith tells me that singing ‘Vande Mataram’ is against my faith, then I should not be forced to do so,” he said.
Azmi was supported by Congress MLA Aslam Shaikh who claimed that “Vande Mataram” was being foisted on people to prop a particular form of nationalism that excluded the minorities. Subsequently, things got heated and order was restored following an appeal by Speaker Haribhau Bagde.