Asserting that singing Vande Mataram for a day is not a barometer of patriotism, the Congress government in Madhya Pradesh on Tuesday announced that it was no longer compulsory to sing the national song in the secretariat on the first day of every month.
For the first time since 2005, government employees did not sing the national song at the secretariat on Tuesday — the first day of the month.
Chief Minister Kamal Nath holds the portfolio of General Administration Department (GAD), which is responsible for organising the monthly event.
BJP spokesperson Rajneesh Agrawal asked Nath to tell the state if he had stopped the practice because he holds the GAD portfolio. “By discontinuing singing of Vande Mataram, he has given a new year gift to patriotic citizens,” Agrawal said.
Congress spokespersons and ministers were at a loss to explain what they thought was a mistake, with some, including ministers P C Sharma and Jitu Patwari of the opinion that it was an oversight.
However, the CM struck a different note, saying, “The decision has not been taken as part of any agenda. We are not against singing Vande Mataram…It’s a wrong to link patriotism and nationalism with day’s singing of Vande Mataram. Are those people who don’t sing Vande Mataram not patriots?” he said.
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