close

News WrapGet Handpicked Stories from our editors directly to your mailbox


In Madhya Pradesh, BJP and Congress battle it out over 'Vande Mataram'

File photo: Madhya Pradesh CM Kamal Nath. Photograph:( DNA )

Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India Jan 03, 2019, 12.59 PM (IST) Written By: Lalit Shastri

A new controversy has erupted as the singing of 'Vande Mataram', started by the previous Shivaraj Singh Chouhan led Madhya Pradesh government on the first working day of every month at the State Secretariat in Bhopal, has been put on hold by the new Madhya Pradesh chief minister Kamal Nath.

The first two verses of 'Vande Mataram', written by Bankim Chandra Chatterjee in praise of the “Mother” (Goddess), symbolising the motherland and composed into a song by Rabindranath Tagore, were adopted as the National Song of India during British rule by the Congress party.

Due to the Kamal Nath government’s stand on the singing of Vande Mataram at the State Secretariat, those in the BJP have put the Congress in the dock. BJP leaders claim that the Kamal Nath government is trying to appease a particular community. According to them, stopping the 13-year-old practice of singing 'Vande Mataram' at the State Secretariat is an insult of those who have sacrificed their lives for the cause of the nation.

BJP President Amit Shah used the social media to assert that the banning of the song 'Vande Mataram' by the Congress government of Madhya Pradesh is like treason and an insult to the nation. 'Vande Mataram' is not just a song, it is the symbol of India's freedom movement and the inspiration for every Indian, Shah emphasised.  

Dragging Congress president Rahul Gandhi into this controversy, the BJP president has asked whether it was on his instructions that the singing of 'Vande Mataram' was stopped by the state Congress government? 

Trying to put a lid on this matter, Kamal Nath has said that 'Vande Mataram' is deeply rooted in every citizen’s heart and his government is going to take initiative to start it again in a different format. But the BJP is in an unrelenting mood. Meanwhile, former chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has announced that this coming Monday, January 7, all the BJP MLAs will assemble and sing Vande Mataram at the Secretariat.

The present controversy is the perfect recipe for a battle of wits between the BJP and the Congress ahead of the Lok Sabha polls this year. Right now, it is advantage BJP, which has already scored an early point by going on the offensive from the word go. The BJP President has been quick in putting the Congress in the dock, roping in Rahul Gandhi and accusing the state Congress government of turning Madhya Pradesh –the heart of India – into a centre of appeasement (to please a particular community). Congress steps to counter the BJP onslaught in the coming days will be viewed only as a face-saving strategy and the BJP will leave no stone unturned to take political mileage from this.

Besides Ayodhya, Rafale, triple talaq, farmers’ distress, more and more contentious issues that polarise the voters on narrow lines have started sprouting up ahead of the elections. In the process, the vital agenda of development that should be at the centre of general public discourse remains on the back burner. 

(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed above are the personal views of the author and do not reflect the views of ZMCL)

Lalit Shastri

Lalit Shastri is an Indian journalist, editor, environmentalist and a wildlife film maker

Story highlights

BJP asserts that the banning of the song 'Vande Mataram' by the Congress government in Madhya Pradesh is like treason and an insult to the nation