Haryana education minister Ram Bilas Sharma has kicked up a row with his remarks that the state government was keen to "saffronise" education just days after it took a decision to include 'Bhagwad Gita' in the school curriculum.
Senior Congress leader and former chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda while lambasting the BJP government for its attempts to saffronise the education system in Haryana on Tuesday said, "Politics over Gita is not acceptable".
Sharma had said the move to introduce Gita in the school curriculum is just a "small beginning" towards "saffronisation".
"After we took a decision to introduce Gita in school curriculum from the next academic session, we have got phone calls from supporters saying it is a historic move.
"People called me and told that it (decision to introduce Gita in school syllabus) is a historic beginning," Sharma said addressing a function organized by old students association of Bhagwad Geeta Senior Secondary School, Kurukshetra on Sunday.
Sharma said, however, a few people opposed the move "accusing us of saffronising education".
"But I told them it's is just a small beginning, we are keen to saffronise education completely keeping in mind our rich tradition and culture," he added.
The Haryana's Education Minister also noted that "the colour of rays of sun at the time of its rising and setting too are saffron and those who worship God also wear clothes of this colour".
"The top deck of our national flag is saffron."
He also said the state government will revive Sanskrit "as our entire mythology and and history is writen in this language".
The remarks made by Sharma, a senior minister in the first-ever BJP Government in Haryana, drew a sharp reaction from Hooda, a two-time former chief minister.
"Politics over Gita is not acceptable to anyone across the globe as it belongs to all and not only to the BJP," Hooda said in Jind.
The BJP had forgotten the true message of the religious scripture and has made it a subject of politics in Haryana, he said.
Earlier, Sharma had said that a consultation process will be set in motion soon to work out the modalities for introduction of Gita in school curriculum from the next academic session.
He had also said a committee of eminent educationists would be formed soon to work out the details in this regard.
Sharma had also claimed the "thought" was getting support from various quarters.