Having stirred a controversy with his remark that “those unwilling to say ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ have no right to stay in the country”, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis today stuck to his guns but said the slogan had nothing to do with religion.
He alleged the media put out only a section of his speech with the intention of “creating a controversy”.
“There is still a dispute over saying ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ and those refusing to say it, should not have any right to stay here. Those living here should say ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai,” Fadnavis had told a public meeting in Nashik last night.
He also criticised Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi for “backing” those who chant anti-national slogans.
In a statement in Mumbai today, Fadnavis said in his 50-minute speech in Nashik he had spoken about ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ slogan only briefly but it was picked up by the media.
“In my 50 minute speech, for 45 long minutes I spoke about Maharashtra’s drought situation and development and just for 5 minutes I spoke on ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ and the Shani Shingnapur issue but media picked only ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ and that too only a part of it. It clearly proves that a section of media is interested in creating controversy only,” he said.
Fadnavis claimed, in his yesterday’s speech, he had also said the slogan had nothing to do with religion.
“I also mentioned in my speech yesterday that ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ has nothing to do with religion because I salute those 500 plus patriotic, highly placed and highly respected Muslim clerics who not only did National Flag hoisting at Mahim Dargah (Mumbai) but also chanted ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ with a feeling of nationalism and patriotism on March 17 on the occasion of 603rd Urs of Hajrat Makhdum Fateh Ali Mahimi. No media is broadcasting this,” he added.
Fadnavis said his objection is to those who refuse to chant ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’.
“We absolutely have no problem if somebody says ‘Jai Hind’ or ‘Jai Bharat’ or ‘Jai Hindustan’, but all we object about is when someone says, I won’t say Bharat Mata Ki Jai. There is a limit to appeasement too,” he said.
“It is not merely about the slogan but it is about those lakhs and lakhs of freedom fighters who sacrificed their life chanting ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’, about those thousands and thousands of soldiers who selflessly attained martyrdom chanting ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’. Those who are opposing it have malafide interests and intentions,” Fadnavis added.
He said, “They are those divisive forces who want to create a rift in our country and wish to break the unity. Why should we tolerate it?”
Fadnavis had also said there was a plot to defame Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the issue of ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ and ‘Vande Mataram’ slogans.