Lashing out at the Congress government led by Chief Minister Kamal Nath, former Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Tuesday said that it was shocking and unfortnate that Vande Mataram, the symbol of 'national pride'and 'patriotism' was not sung on the the first working day of January at Madhya Pradesh secretariat.
In a series of tweets, the former Chief Minister wrote; "The Congress has probably forgotten that nothing is above the nation and patriotism irrespective of the governments". He also urged the government to make it mandatory to recite Vande Mataran before every cabinet meeting and on the first date of every month.
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"If the Congress does not know the words of Vande Mataram or it is shy to chant the song, let me know. I will sing the national song in front of the public in the premises of the Vallabh Bhavan building", Chouhan dared.
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.
Madhya Pradesh General Administration Department (GAD) additional chief secretary Prabhanshu Kamal could not be contacted despite repeated calls.
State unit BJP spokesman Rajneesh Agrawal tweeted that the rendition of Vande Mataram is organised by the state general administration department (GAD), 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.
Meanwhile, reacting to the row, Chief Minister Kamal Nath said that the order to recite Vande Mataram in the Secretariat on first day of month has been put on hold. He further said that a decision has been taken to implement the order in a new form. "Those who do not recite Vande Mataram are not patriots?", he asked.