Just days after Meerut civic authorities put forward a same proposal triggering a row, the BJP Mayors in Varanasi and Gorakhpur issued orders making it mandatory for every municipal corporation member to sing Vande Mataram and Jana Gana Mana. The order, which came after a BJP corporators’ proposal for singing the songs, triggered protests by Congress and SP members.
The row was kicked off on Saturday when BJP corporator Ajay Gupta in Varanasi put forth a proposal that the national song should be sung before house proceedings.
“We were all prepared to hold a discussion on the Budget 2017-18 on Saturday, but surprisingly BJP corporator Ajay Gupta intervened saying national song Vande Mataram should be sung before beginning House proceedings, to which Muslim and Hindu corporators of the SP and the Congress strongly protested,” Samajwadi Party corporator Ravi Kant Vishwakarma told PTI.
Taking strong view of the protest, Varanasi mayor Ram Gopal Mohale said in a statement on Monday that action would be taken against the SP and Congress members for allegedly insulting the national song and raising derogatory slogans.
We fully respect our national song but they (BJP) cannot force us to sing. The Muslim corporators of our party (SP) and Congress were strongly against this move, and if we do not wish to sing they cannot deliberately impose it upon usRavi Kant Vishwakarma, Samajwadi Party corporator
Opposition leaders including those belonging to the BSP also raised slogans, saying a new tradition was being deliberately set by the saffron party, sources said.
Following the ruckus in the house, the Mayor issued an order saying house proceedings should begin mandatorily with singing of the national song Vande Matram and conclude with singing of the national anthem.
Mohale said singing the national song arouses patriotic feelings, and even in the past there was a tradition of singing Vande Matram in the House.
SP corporator Vijay Jaiswal said, “There has been no such tradition in Varanasi or any other corporation. They only wanted to create a controversy.”
Gorakhpur Mayor Satya Pandey also announced at Saturday’s meeting that it would conclude with Vande Mataram. Many SP corporators objected and over a dozen Muslim corporators walked out.
Recently, a row had broken out in the Meerut Municipal Corporation over singing of Vande Mataram.
Last week, a group of Muslim councilors had left the Meerut Municipal Corporation House as soon as other members started singing Vande Mataram, following which a proposal to terminate their membership was passed.
A proposal was also put forth by Meerut Mayor Harikant Ahluwalia of the BJP making it clear that any members opposing Vande Mataram will not be welcome in the House.