UP: Fresh row over Vande Mataram after BSP mayor refuses to stand during national song
Lucknow, Dec 13: It has been a while we have been witnessing several 'political' controversies over the national song, Vande Mataram. While right-wing groups and political parties, including the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), want Vande Mataram to be accorded the same position and respect as the national anthem, Jana Gana Mana, others, especially the Muslim organisations, feel that the song goes against the tenets of Islam.
A fresh controversy broke out over the national song in Meerut, Uttar Pradesh, on Tuesday after newly-elected Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) mayor Sunita Verma was seen sitting while Vande Mataram was being recited at the swearing-in ceremony.
Terming Verma's act a disrespect to the song, BJP councillors protested against the mayor by shouting slogans against her during the event.
"BJP councillors registered protest as Meerut BSP mayor Sunita Verma was seen sitting while Vande Mataram was being recited at the swearing-in ceremony earlier today," tweeted ANI.
BJP Councillors registered protest as Meerut BSP Mayor Sunita Verma was seen sitting while Vande Matram was being recited at swearing-in ceremony earlier today. pic.twitter.com/SjNasydPqV— ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) December 12, 2017
When reporters asked her why she did not stand during the Vande Mataram recitation, Verma stated that "we should talk about vikas (development)". "Don't try to divert my attention from real issues," she added.
Vikas ki baat kijiye, mera dhyaan mat bhatkaiye: Meerut BSP Mayor Sunita Verma on question why she did not stand up when Vande Matram was being recited pic.twitter.com/S07IeOtbxK— ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) December 12, 2017
In fact, days after the BSP won the two mayoral seats of Meerut and Aligarh in UP, the Meerut mayor Verma overturned an earlier order that asked all employees to sing Vande Mataram before municipal corporation meetings.
"The municipal board's Constitution states the national anthem will be sung, not Vande Mataram. There should be no controversy... only Jana Gana Mana will be sung at the start of every board meeting," she had said.
Verma's predecessor, BJP mayor Harikant Ahluwalia, had made singing of the national song a must at the MMC board meetings.
While announcing his decision, Ahluwalia stated that those who refuse to stand during Vande Mataram recitation would be terminated.
Verma's party colleague and Aligarh mayor Mohammad Furkan had also said that he would not sing the national song during the oath-taking ceremony.
On Sunday, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu said he did not understand what was the problem in singing Vande Mataram, which meant "salutations to the mother", a song that had inspired millions during the country's freedom movement.
"After so many years, now we are discussing (if) Vande Mataram is good or not, nationalism and patriotism are good or not. Also, we feel shy to talk about all this," Naidu said.