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No "hello", instead use 'Vande Mataram' when answering calls: Maha minister to govt officials

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Mumbai, Aug 14: Newly-appointed Maharashtra Cultural Affairs Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar on Sunday said all officials of the state government will have to say "Vande Mataram" instead of "hello" while receiving phone calls in offices.

"We are entering the 76th year of Independence. We are celebrating Amrit Mahotsav (of Independence). Hence I want officials to say 'Vande Mataram' over the phone instead of hello," he said.

File photo of Sudhir Mungantiwar (Photo credit: PTI)

He said a formal government order will be out by August 18. "I want all government officials in the state to say 'Vande Mataram' (while receiving phones) till January 26 next year," he said.

Meanwhile, Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde on Sunday distributed portfolios, with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) getting several key ministries, including the Home and Finance that will be handled by Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis.

Shinde kept Urban Development and 11 other ministries with himself. Shinde, whose rebellion against the Shiv Sena leadership had led to the collapse of the Uddhav Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government, had taken oath as the chief minister on June 30 with the support of the BJP.

Fadnavis was sworn in as his deputy. In addition to Home and Finance and Planning, Fadnavis will also handle Law and Judiciary, Water Resources, Housing, Energy and Protocol portfolios. Another important portfolio - the Revenue Department - has been given to BJP leader Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil, who had quit the Congress a few months before the 2019 Assembly elections to join the saffron party.

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