Lucknow: Uttar Pradesh Governor Ram Naik on Saturday stoked a controversy when he ordered stopping of national anthem mid-way as it was being played during the end of the oath taking function for ministers in Raj Bhawan.
As the national anthem was played at the end of the event, Naik waved at his staff indicating that Jana Gana Mana be stopped and even verbally instructed his personnel to do so as he wanted to take up a pledge of national unity to mark the National Integration Day on the birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.
On Naik's instructions, the playing of Jana Gana Mana was stopped mid-way, but it triggered a controversy with questions being raised whether it tantamount to insulting the national anthem.
In a quick damage control measure, a Raj Bhawan official clarified that it was due to a minor confusion and there was no intention to insult the national anthem.
"The programme had not ended and the playing of national anthem got underway...The Governor had to administer national unity pledge before the event concluded," he said.
Opposition Congress demanded an apology from those responsible for the lapse, saying playing of the national anthem cannot be stopped mid-way.
"This is most unfortunate and condemnable.... We demand an apology from those responsible," Congress spokesman Dwijendra Tripathi said.