The incident of 'Vande Mataram' not being sung on the first working day of January at Madhya Pradesh secretariat has come to light, with the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party pointing the finger at Chief Minister Kamal Nath.
Singing of the national song in the Mantralaya or secretariat on the first working day of every month has been the norm since the time of erstwhile Shivraj Singh Chouhan government of the BJP.
Taking a swipe at the government, BJP chief Amit Shah on Wednesday said 'Vande Mataram' was not sung just to please a 'particular community' and asked whether it was done on instructions from party president Rahul Gandhi.
In a Facebook post, Shah alleged that Congress is making Madhya Pradesh, the 'heart of Hindustan', a centre of its 'appeasement' policy.
'I want to ask Congress national president Rahul Gandhi whether the insult of Vande Mataram is his decision. Rahul Gandhi should clear his stand before the people of country on the unfortunate decision by the Congress government,' Shah said.
Madhya Pradesh General Administration Department additional chief secretary Prabhanshu Kamal could not be contacted despite repeated calls.
Former chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said he and all other BJP MLAs will sing 'Vande Mataram' on the first day of the Madhya Pradesh assembly session, if the Congress-led state government does not restore the practice of reciting it at the secretariat.
Nath, however, said the discontinuation was temporary and the practice would be restored in a new form.
Taking a dim view of the 13-year-old practice not being followed now, Chouhan in a tweet in Hindi said, 'I and all the BJP MLAs will sing the national song at the Vallabh Bhawan (secretariat) premises on the first day of the assembly session on January 7. People are welcome to join this campaign.'
'If the Congress doesn't know the lyrics (words) of Vande Mataram or if they feel ashamed singing it, then let me know. I along with people will sing it on the first day of every month at the Vallabh Bhawan premises,' he said in another tweet.
State unit BJP spokesman Rajneesh Agrawal tweeted that the rendition of Vande Mataram is organised by the state general administration department, a portfolio held by Chief Minister Kamal Nath.
“Has it been on his direction? He (Nath) has recently said that he does not care for criticism. Is there going to be a ban on ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ chant (sic),” he tweeted.
When contacted, state Congress spokesman Bhupendra Gupta sought to play down the incident, saying the CM is out of station.
He said the rendition of Vande Mataram couldn’t take place as SR Mohanty took charge as Chief Secretary Tuesday, implying that officials remained busy.
“Why the BJP is creating fuss over it? If it (Vande Matram) was not sung today, its rendition will take place tomorrow or later. Nothing much should be read into this,” the Congress leader said.