Kolkata: National Conference president Farooq Abdullah on Friday sparked a controversy when he chose to talk on his mobile phone while the National Anthem was being played at the swearing-in ceremony of Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee as West Bengal's chief minister for the second time.
It is the constitutional duty of every citizen, under Article 51A(a) of the Constitution, to respect its ideals and institutions, the National Flag and the National Anthem.
Talking to Zee Media, Abdullah, unfazed by criticism, said he respects the National Anthem.
Reacting to the incident, Senior Congress leader Ambika Soni said "I really don't know what happened. But, whenever the national anthem is being played, we all should stand in attention."
Besides former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Farooq Abdullah, Bhutan Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay, Bangladesh Industry Minister Amir Hossain Amu, union ministers Arun Jaitley and Babul Supriyo, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad graced the occasion.
Earlier this week, an Indian Army officer asked two journalists to leave an event because they "did not stand up when the Indian national anthem was played and the Indian flag was unfurled".
The anthem was played during the passing out parade of recruits at the regimental centre of the Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry Regiment.