The Maharashtra government on October 1 had issued a Government Resolution (GR) directing government employees to greet with ‘Vande Mataram’ instead of ‘Hello’ while addressing public or government officials and also while making public announcements. The campaign was launched across the state on October 2, Gandhi jayanti.
However, the campaign stirred controversy as many leaders from different political parties slammed the government for the move.
Samajwadi Party leader Abu Azmi on Sunday said that the state had always had a ‘Jai Maharashtra’ greeting since Balasaheb Thackeray’s time and this new resolution is polarising.
“Sir Eknath Shinde, you are Shiv Sainik of Balasaheb Thackeray; whenever he met, he greeted by saying Jai Maharashtra. But today instead of Jai Maharashtra, the GR of saying Vande Mataram seems that you have come under the pressure of BJP and RSS who only know how to divide people,” he said tweeting a video.
In his video he further stated that Muslims cannot say ‘Vande Mataram’ since they only bow in front of Allah. “A devout Muslim will never bow down in front of anyone except Allah; we love our country but we can never say ‘Vande Mataram’,” he added.
महोदय, श्री एकनाथ शिंदे जी आप जिनके शिव सैनिक है वो बालासाहब ठाकरे जब भी मिले थे उन्होंने जय महाराष्ट्र बोलकर अभिवादन किया था, लेकिन आज जय महाराष्ट्र के बजाए वंदे मातरम बोलने के GR से लगता है की आप भाजपा और RSS के दबाव में आगाए है जो सिर्फ लोगों को बांटना जानते है#JaiMaharashtra pic.twitter.com/LA2CIanPmp
— Abu Asim Azmi (@abuasimazmi) October 1, 2022
Meanwhile, Congress Spokeperson Charan Sapra alleged that this government resolution was a ploy to divert attention from pressing issues like inflation, unemployment, Rupee fall,etc. He said, “We are not against using ‘Vande Mataram’ but why the change? Will saying the phrase bring down inflation, solve issues of unemployment. It is a ploy of divisive politics and garner votes for BJP.”
#Vandematram notification of Maharashtra ED govt is a ploy to divert attention from major issues of concern… Inflation, Unemployment, Rupee fall,etc.
Also a step towards polarisation !!
Completely against the ideals of #Bapu on #GandhiJayanti pic.twitter.com/9utpXixfoP
— Charan Singh Sapra (@Charanssapra) October 2, 2022
AIMIM leader Waris Pathan said, “They [BJP] talk about renaming cities and etc. Will this solve issues of inflation, unemployment? Their mentality has always been of diverting attention from pressing issues”
“What happens if one does not say ‘Vande Mataram’? Will they jail them, hang them or penalise them,” he questioned.
— Waris Pathan (@warispathan) October 2, 2022
Reportedly, NCP National Spokesperson Clyde Crasto also said that the phrase may invoke a sense of pride and patriotism but they shouldn’t be forced. He was quoted as saying that since the government is forcing the empployees to use Vande Mataram even on their private telephones is nothing but infringement of their Right to Freedom of speech. Crasto said that people should be allowed to say ‘Vande Mataram’ with pride instead of being forced.