Tearing into the Vande Mataram diktat of Uttarakhand higher education minister Dhan Singh Rawat, Congress chief Kishore Upadhyay on Thursday dared him to throw him out of the state, because he was not going to sing Vande Matram before party events for a month.
“If this is the case, I say I will not sing Vande Matram before party events for a month. I dare Dhan Singh Rawat to throw me out of Uttarakhand,” Upadhyay challenged the minister, who during an event in Roorkee, which was also attended by chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat, had said, “Uttarakhand mein rehna hai, toh Vande Mataram kehna hoga (If you want to stay in Uttarakhand, you have to sing Vande mataram).”
Noting that governments don’t have the right to issue “certificate of patriotism” to people, Upadhyay said, “Every single person respects and recites Vande Matram, but it should not be forced upon any individual as a ‘proof of patriotism’.”
Stipulating timings for singing the national song and national anthem in degree colleges, Rawat had said, “The national anthem should be sung at 10 in the morning, while the national song at 4 in the evening.”
Hitting back at Rawat, Upadhyay said, “Let me be very clear: I have the highest regard for the national anthem and the national song. Every Congress event starts with national song and we all take great pride in it. But, going by recent developments, it appear that Amit Shah (BJP national chief) and his team have taken upon themselves the responsibility of deciding who is a patriot and who is not by using their own yardstick.”
Ridiculing the chief minister for “appreciating” Dhan Singh’s statement, the Congress chief said, “The biggest surprise came when CM appreciated his minister for the act. If they want to make Vande Matram mandatory in schools and colleges, they can easily do so by enacting a law in the assembly.”
Advising the government to focus on char dham yatra, which is scheduled to start in the last week of April, he said, “It will be wiser for the BJP to focus on yatra and make effort to provide better facilities to the pilgrims, rather than creating differences gulf between people by making baseless statements.”