A day after raking up a controversy by stopping the singing of National Song ('Vande Mataram') at the Madhya Pradesh secretariat, Chief Minister Kamal Nath on Thursday announced a new policy to implement the tradition.
'Vande Mataram' was not sung at the state secretariat on Tuesday, the first working day of the month, a tradition followed by the previous Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government.
The Chief Minister said that at 10.45 am on the first working day of every month, a police band will play the tunes that encourage patriotic feelings during their march from Shaurya Samarak to Vallabh Bhawan in Bhopal. He added that on the arrival at the Bhawan, both National Anthem (Jana Gana Mana) and National Song (Vande Mataram) will be sung.
Earlier on Wednesday, former chief minister Shivraj Chouhan also attacked the Kamal Nath government and said he and all other BJP MLAs will sing 'Vande Mataram' on the first day of the Madhya Pradesh Assembly session if the Congress government does not restore the practice at the secretariat.
Nath, however, said the practice of singing 'Vande Mataram' on the first working day of every month was being discontinued for the time being and that his government has decided to implement it in "naya swaroop" (new form).
"We have not taken this decision under any agenda nor are we opposed to singing 'Vande Mataram'. It is deeply rooted in our hearts and we have sung it from time-to-time. We will start it again but in a different form," Nath said in a statement. He also criticised those who were trying to politicise the issue.
"I condemn those who do politics in the name of either temple or Vande Mataram. We are bringing it (Vande Mataram) in a new form and I will make an announcement on it within a day or two," the chief minister said.
Taking a swipe at the Congress government in Madhya Pradesh, BJP chief Amit Shah had said on Wednesday that 'Vande Mataram' was not sung at the state secretariat just to please a "particular community" and asked whether it was done on instructions from party president Rahul Gandhi.
In a Facebook post, Shah alleged that Congress is making Madhya Pradesh, the "heart of Hindustan", a centre of its "appeasement" policy. "I want to ask Congress national president Rahul Gandhi whether the insult of Vande Mataram is his decision. Rahul Gandhi should clear his stand before the people of the country on the unfortunate decision by the Congress government," Shah said.
The BJP chief said 'Vande Mataram' does not belong to any particular community and instead it is a symbol of the sacrifice of lakhs of warriors who laid down their lives for the freedom of India. "And its insult just to please a particular community is very sad, shameful and disrespect of the country's freedom," Shah said.