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Row over Vande Mataram recital rocks MP
Salil Mekked in Bhopal |
June 22, 2005 13:27 IST
The Madhya Pradesh opposition has accused Chief Minister Babulal Gaur of enforcing Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh ideology and objected to the instructions for compulsory recital of Vande Mataram at government offices.
"The Bharatiya Janata Party should first clear its stand on its values of patriotism, mainly chief Lal Kishenchand Advani's comments on Jinnah, before imposing Vande Mataram on the government employees," state Samajwadi Party general secretary Munawwar Salim said.
"BJP is implementing its hidden agenda of Hindutva through this decision. It is trying to spread terror among minority community members by spreading RSS ideology," leader of opposition Jamun Devi alleged, adding, "In fact, it is an attempt to make Madhya Pradesh a laboratory of Hindutva like Gujarat."
The row over Vande Mataram started soon after Gaur's recently-expanded cabinet started its maiden meeting with its recital on June 3.
"Chorus recital of Vande Mataram will boost patriotism among the officers and workers, besides ensuring punctuality," the chief minister said.
The recital was termed as a 'gimmick' by the Communist Party of India-Marxist. CPI-M office secretary Vinay Dwivedi also accused Gaur of diverting attention from people's problems.
Government employees welcomed the move but showed unease over 'compulsory recital' of the song.
"Patriotism cannot be imposed. One cannot show it off. It has to come from within oneself," Federation of Employees Union of Madhya Pradesh secretary Sachil Aqbar said.
Undeterred by criticism, Gaur went a step further by making it mandatory for government schools to hold chorus recitals of the song everyday from next academic session.