After Meerut, Vande Mataram row in Varanasi Municipal Corp

‘We fully respect our national song but they (BJP) cannot force us to sing’
VARANASI: The Varanasi mayor has issued orders making it mandatory for every municipal corpora­tion member to sing ‘Vande Mataram’ and ‘Jana Gana Mana’ after a BJP corpora­tor’s proposal for singing the songs triggered pro­tests by Congress and SP members.
The row was kicked off on Saturday last when BJP corporator Ajay Gupta put forth a proposal that the na­tional song should be sung before house proceedings.
Taking strong view of the protest, mayor Ram Go­pal Mohale said in a state­ment on Monday that action would be taken against the SP and Congress members for allegedly insulting the national song and raising derogatory slogans.
Samajwadi Party cor­porator Ravi Kant Vishwa­karma told PTI that, “We were all prepared to hold a discussion on the Budget 2017-18 on Saturday, but surprisingly BJP corpora­tor Ajay Gupta intervened saying national song Vande Mataram should be sung before beginning House proceedings, to which Mus­lim and Hindu corporators of the SP and the Congress strongly protested.”
“We fully respect our na­tional song but they (BJP) cannot force us to sing. The Muslim corporators of our party (SP) and Congress were strongly against this move, and if we do not wish to sing they cannot delib­erately impose it upon us,” Vishwakarma said.
Opposition leaders in­cluding those belonging to the BSP also raised slogans, saying a new tradition was being deliberately set by the saffron party, sources said.
Following the ruckus in the house, the Mayor is­sued an order saying house proceedings should begin mandatorily with singing of the national song Vande Ma­tram and conclude with sing­ing of the national anthem.
Mohale said singing the national song arouses pa­triotic feelings, and even in the past there was a tradi­tion of singing Vande Ma­tram in the House.
In a statement, Mohale said, “In the house, corporators raised slogans and made derogatory comments against the RSS, the organ­isation which is completely devoted to the nation. This is not only an insult but also a criminal act.”
Recently, a row had bro­ken out in the Meerut Mu­nicipal Corporation over singing of Vande Mataram. Last week, a group of Mus­lim councilors had left the Meerut Municipal Corpora­tion House as soon as other members started singing Vande Mataram, following which a proposal to termi­nate their membership was passed. A proposal was also put forth by Meerut Mayor Harikant Ahluwalia of the BJP making it clear that any members opposing Vande Mataram will not be welcome in the House.