Hyderabad: Observing that AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi refused to chant 'Bharat Mata ki Jai' to cater to "vote bank politics", a senior RSS functionary today said the slogan was patriotic and appealed to various sections.
"The slogan 'Bharat Mata ki Jai' is a matter concerning patriotism. It shows patriotism. It is irresponsible for MP Asaduddin Owaisi to say that he would not chant 'Bharat Mata ki Jai' even if a knife is put to his throat.
"It is not proper to make such a comment for someone who is an MP. Such comments are made for vote bank politics," RSS Telangana 'Prant Karyvah' (state general secretary), Ekka Chandrasekhar told reporters here.
Owaisi had stirred a hornet's nest by rejecting RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat's suggestion that the young generation be taught patriotic slogans like 'Bharat Mata ki Jai' stating that he won't chant the slogan "even if a knife is put to his throat".
"Soldiers in war and personalities, including anti-corruption activist Anna Hazare, have raised the slogan of 'Bharat Mata ki Jai'," Chandrasekhar said, adding that patriotism of RSS should not be seen as narrow-minded.
Replying to a query, the RSS leader said Owaisi could be frequently making such statements against RSS as he may not like the organisation denouncing vote-bank politics.
"RSS does not support anti-national acts in the name of freedom of expression. Actions like saying, in the name of freedom of speech and expression that the country be divided, Kashmir be given independence, commenting against soldiers and hurting others sentiments are anti-national," Chandrasekhar said.
Observing that the education system should be "value-based", he said the RSS does not interfere in academic syllabus.
Chandrasekhar asked how can Yoga which is highly beneficial be called as "saffronisation".
He said various resolutions were passed at the recently held national meeting of RSS in Rajasthan.
The resolutions seeking that governments and NGOs work for providing easy access to health services, spreading of education in rural and tribal habitations, eradication of untouchability and differences among castes and leading a harmonious life in society without any scope for exploitation were passed, he said.
Owaisi's statement has set off a chain of events amid charged debate over nationalism, that included suspension of an AIMIM MLA by Maharashtra Assembly after he refused to chant the slogan.
Political parties across the spectrum, including the BJP, Congress, NCP, Shiv Sena have condemned Owaisi's stance.
Madhya Pradesh Assembly has also unanimously adopted a censure motion, moved by a Congress member and backed by the ruling BJP, against Owaisi.