The buzz about the change of the country's name from "India" to "Bharat" drew outraged comments from the Opposition today, which accused the government of "planting" stories in the media and "creating a smokescreen of diversion" to divert attention from multiple governance issues.
At the end of two back-to-back meetings -- a Congress internal meeting at Sonia Gandhi's residence and a INDIA leaders' meet at Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge's home -- the Opposition demanded that the government spell out the agenda of the special session and accused it of keeping the country in the dark.
"Modi Govt is convening a special session of the Parliament for the first time without spelling out the agenda. No one from any opposition party has been consulted or informed. This is not the way to run a Democracy," Mr Kharge posted on X, formerly Twitter.
"Everyday, Modi Govt plants a story in the media of a prospective 'agenda', thereby creating a smokescreen of diversion from real issues burdening the people... The BJP wants to keep key issues like Price Rise, Unemployment, Manipur, China's transgressions, CAG Reports, Scams and Weakening of Institutions etc. aside and cheat our people," he added.
Addressing a press conference, Congress's Gaurav Gogoi said, "BJP itself is not able to tell what is the agenda of the session. The BJP has kept the country in the dark on this. This government is not transparent and responsible towards the country".
Sources said it was decided at the meeting of INDIA that Mrs Gandhi will write to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, listing issues that can be discussed during the special session -- including unemployment, price rise and Manipur violence.
The India delegation also expressed dismay over former President Ram Nath Kovind becoming an instrument of executive decision making and part of a body, the disregard of LOP and appointing ex-LOP.
The Bharat-India debate started earlier today with the news that President Droupadi Murmu's invite to G20 leaders introduces her as the "President of Bharat" instead of the traditional "President of India".
A G20 booklet handed to foreign delegates -- "Bharat, The Mother Of Democracy", which said "Bharat is the official name of the country… mentioned in the Constitution" – deepened the confusion.
In the backdrop of the five-day special session of parliament due from September 18 -- for which no agenda has been provided by the government – speculation thrived.
Many BJP leaders and celebrities including Amitabh Bachchan, Virender Sehwag and others, hailed "Bharat" on social media. Shortly after, the Opposition slammed the government and went into a huddle.