The Bharatiya Janta Party dismissed Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's appeal to refrain from "promoting divisive agendas" on Republic Day, saying they were "dismayed" by his statement, terming it as support for those "voicing anti-India sentiments".
"It is not an occasion to score political points, to embarrass the state and local administrations, to create situations that could lead to entirely avoidable problems, or to promote divisive agendas," Manmohan Singh said while stressing that Republic Day is "a solemn occasion".
"It is my hope that all our citizens and political parties will heed this call and will do nothing that will disturb peace and harmony, or detract in any way from the dignity of Republic Day," the prime minister said in a statement.
It was "all the more important to observe maximum restraint particularly in a sensitive state like Jammu and Kashmir," Manmohan Singh said. It was a veiled reference to 'Ekta Yatra' planned by the BJP's youth wing to proceed to Srinagar to hoist the national tricolour at the historic Lal Chowk.
Unfazed by pleas by the Jammu and Kashmir government, which has made it clear that it will not allow hoisting of the national flag by BJP on that day, the main opposition party is going ahead with the plan.
"We are taken aback by the stand taken by prime minister virtually siding with those who are opposing hoisting the national flag and voicing anti-India sentiments," said BJP spokesman Rajiv Pratap Rudy in a statement.
He asked the prime minister whether hoisting the national flag anywhere in India is "anti-national".
"By voicing such an insensitive reaction, the PM is emboldening the separatist which will make separatist across and within celebrate. We are still more astonished where an act of hoisting national flag is being equated by the PM as a scramble to score political points," said Rudy.
The BJP spokesperson suggested that the prime minister was "hinting" towards "reverting to the pre-1953 status".