The government has dissociated itself from remarks by Baba Ramdev and Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis on chanting “bharat mata ki jai”. Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said views expressed by individuals on the issue are not “authorised by the government”.
Ramdev had triggered a row with his statement earlier in the week that but for the law he would have beheaded lakhs of those who refused to chant the slogan. Fadnavis too suggested that those who refuse to say ‘Bharat mata ki jai’ had no right to stay in India.
The damage control exercise by Naidu came in the face of BJP’s reluctance to be drawn into the controversy involving the two.
He said, “Did the chief minister pass any legislation on it? In a democracy, people will say so many things. At the end, what the government decides is binding on all.
The government has not come out with any circular making the chanting of ‘Bharat mata ki jai’ mandatory, but it is an emotive issue and sensibilities of all should be taken care.”
The BJP had remained hesitant in reacting to Ramdev’s remarks fearing it would amount to owing it up. “Baba’s spokesmen are in best position to react,” a BJP spokesman said. The Yoga guru is considered close to the BJP and the Sangh parivar.
Conflicting statement from the RSS, too, did not help the matter. Within days of its chief Mohan Bhagwat suggesting that nobody should be forced to chant the slogan, RSS’s second in command Suresh Bhaiyaji Joshi appeared to be striking a different note.
“All those who consider this land as their mother say ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’, jo is bhumi ko bhogbhumi maante hain, ve hi Bharat Mata Ki Jai kehne se inkaar karte hain,” he said at a function in Mumbai last week.