A row has erupted in Madhya Pradesh with the new Congress government deciding to put on hold the previous BJP government's tradition to recite the national song, Vande Mataram, in the secretariat on the first working day of every month.
"A decision has been taken to implement the order in a new form," Chief Minister Kamal Nath, who took oath last month, told news agency ANI, confirming the tradition has been put on hold.
BJP's former three-term chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, not taking kindly to the change, in a series of tweets said Vande Mataram is not only the national song, it is synonymous to patriotism, and demanded that the Congress restart the recital.
"The song renders new energy to the patriotism present in the hearts of people. This is extremely unfortunate that the Congress has ended this convention. Today, Vande Mataram was not sung... Congress perhaps has forgotten that governments come and go, but there is nothing more important than the country and patriotism. I demand that the song is sung before a cabinet meeting as always, and it should also be sung at Vallabh Bhawan on the first day of the month," he tweeted.
The former chief minister told news agency ANI that he will sing Vande Mataram in the Secretariat on Sunday. He also tweeted that he and other BJP legislators will sing Vande Mataram at the Secretariat at 10 am on January 7.
Reciting Vande Mataram on the first working day of every month has been the convention at the Madhya Pradesh secretariat ever since Shivraj Singh Chouhan was chief minister.
Reacting to the BJP's charges, chief minister Kamal Nath asked if those who do not recite Vande Mataram are not patriots.
The Congress last month seized Madhya Pradesh from the BJP along with two other Hindi heartland states - Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh. With its win, the Congress managed to end the 15-year-rule of Shivraj Singh Chouhan in Madhya Pradesh.