Dehradun (Uttarakhand) [India], Apr. 14 : Daring the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to throw him out of the state if they can, Uttarakhand Congress chief Kishore Upadhyay has refused to sing 'Vande Mataram', saying he can't be forced to do so.
"If the BJP Government sets a condition and forces me to sing Vande Mataram then I will not. I challenge the government to throw me out of Uttarakhand. This is completely dividing the society on the basis of patriotism," Upadhyay said in a press briefing here.
He further said that Congress has been singing the national song from a very long time, even before the BJP was formed, adding that one's patriotism cannot be defined on this basis.
"I am very hurt as one of the BJP's leader commented on Vande Mataram. I don't think anybody in their political party has as much faith as I have in the Hindu religion. There is no ritual in which I don't take part, but few people do it for politics," he said. Earlier on April 7, Uttarakhand minister Dhan Singh Rawat stirred controversy by saying, "If one wants to stay in Uttarakhand, then they must sing Vande Matram".
Earlier in February, the Supreme Court rejected the plea filed by leader and senior Supreme Court advocate Ashwini Upadhyay seeking direction to give equal respect to the national song as given to the national anthem.
Upadhyay had earlier filed a plea in the apex court seeking directions to the Centre for issuing a policy to promote and propagate the national anthem, national flag and national song.
The petition sought a direction to frame a national policy to promote and propagate the national anthem, national song and national flag in spirit of Article 51A.
On November 30, a bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra, responding to the filed by Chouksey, had ordered all cinema halls to play the national anthem before the screening of a movie.
However, the court later made an amendment and said there is no need to compulsorily stand up when the national anthem is sung or played as part of a film or documentary.