FINALLY, THE Vande Mataram day passed off. But not before politicians, particularly of the saffron kind, did their best to milch political mileage out of the National Song.
In the name of spreading awareness about the National Song, the Hindutva forces here did manage to get a meagre response to its effort to rake up emotions over the controversy surrounding Vande Mataram.
Ironically, it was Union HRD Minister Arjun Singh, whose circular to sing the song to commemorate its centenary started the row, drew the greatest flak from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its rightist allies. Singh was also at the receiving end of Muslim outfits for his initial move to ensure that the National Song was compulsorily sung in schools across the country today.
What started as an initiative of the HRD Minister was hijacked by the BJP. It was evident in the celebrations in the city today. BJP, Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Bajrang Dal cadres celebrated the centenary of Vande Mataram with militant zeal here today.
They took out processions, formed human chains and addressed gatherings.
The BJP, the VHP and the Bajrang Dal took out a procession from the Chunniganj Crossing and it culminated at the Murrey Company Bridge. The rallyists had Vande Mataram on their lips as they marched through the streets.
BJP’s Cantonment MLA Satish Mahana, General Ganj MLA Salil Bishnoi, party leaders Rakesh Sonker and Anoop Awasthi were present. Provincial secretary of the VHP Awadh Bihari Misra was also there to sing the glory of the National Song.
The saffron outfits also managed to get school students from RSS-run schools like the Saraswati Vidya Mandir Inter College, Lalbangla and Balika Vidya Mandir Inter College, Harjinder Nagar to form a human chain. They sung Vande Mataram and held out placards which clearly said that there was more politics to the song than melody for the saffron brigade.
The BJP, VHP and Bajrang Dal used the occasion to spread communal venom as was clear in a placard which asked those opposed to singing the Vande Mataram to leave the country.
In an overtly Hindutva brigade show, BJP leader Rakesh Sonker welcomed the students for forming the human chain.
Earlier, several party workers led by Anoop Awasthi also took out a procession in the Arya Nagar constituency.
At Shikshak Park, Muslim women, under the banner of the BJP minority cell, rendered Vande Mataram and burnt the effigy of Arjun Singh.
Speaking on the occasion, BJP MLA Salil Bishnoi said only Arjun Singh was responsible for the undue controversy over the National Song.
Awasthi told mediapersons said that it was the HRD Minister in particular and the UPA Government in general which unnecessarily dragged Muslims into the controversy.
Later, in the evening former BJP Rajya Sabha member party Rajnath Singh Soor addressed party workers at the Naveen Market and criticised those opposed to singing Vande Mataram in the name of religion. He also attacked the Congress for dilly-dallying on the issue.
Earlier, at a Chawla Market meeting Soor congratulated Arjun Singh and Shahi Imam of Jama Masjid Abdullah Bukhari for “spreading awareness and developing patriotic feeling” among Indians. BJP leaders Balchandra Misra, Kaushal Kishore Dixit, Radhey Shyam Pandey and Gyanesh Misra were also present.
Outside the political ambit students sung Vande Mataram at the Mahila Mahavidyalaya PG College, Shatrughan Singh Inter College and elsewhere. Some students in the South City area also took out rallies to mark the day.