The Maharashtra legislative Assembly witnessed a heated uproar on Wednesday when several MLAs from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) staged a protest over remarks made by Samajwadi Party MLA Abu Azmi regarding the national song, Vande Mataram.
The protest resulted in the adjournment of the House. This incident sparked a political storm, with the BJP demanding clarification from the opposition alliance, of which the Samajwadi Party is a member. Abu Azmi’s statement that they cannot bow down to Vande Mataram due to their belief in one Allah provoked strong objections from the BJP MLAs, leading to a heated exchange.
During the assembly session, Abu Azmi brought up the issue of rioting in the Sambhajinagar district and expressed his disapproval of chanting “Vande Mataram.” He stated, “We can’t bow down our heads to Vande Mataram because we believe in one Allah. We don’t bow our heads to our mother.” This statement drew strong objections from BJP MLAs, initiating a heated exchange between the two parties.
The Speaker’s Intervention:
In an attempt to restore order, Speaker Rahul Narwekar intervened and appealed to the legislators to maintain decorum. He deemed Abu Azmi’s comments irrelevant to the issue at hand and urged him to focus on the listed discussion topics. Despite the Speaker’s efforts, the protest persisted, leading to the adjournment of the House for 10 minutes.
Clarification and Political Reactions:
Following the political storm triggered by his remarks, Abu Azmi issued a clarification. Speaking to reporters outside the Maharashtra Assembly, he stated, “I respect Vande Mataram, but I can’t read it because my religion says we can’t bow down to anyone except Allah.”
BJP national spokesperson Shehzad Poonawalla took to Twitter to criticize Abu Azmi’s statement. He questioned why members of the Samajwadi Party, a part of the Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA), would refuse to say Vande Mataram while bowing down before Aurangzeb, suggesting that their actions were anti-India.
“Samajwadi party is a part of I.N.D.I.A…& its MLA says in the Maharashtra assembly that I will not say Vande Mataram, it is against my religion. They go and bow their heads in front of Aurangzeb but shy away from saying Vande Mataram, those who keep India in their name, why is their work always anti-India?” Poonawalla asked.
“Earlier, SP released terrorists and patronised Yakub (Memon), Afzal (Guru). Congress questioned the surgical strike, Balakot, and 26/11 was blamed on India, not Pakistan. This is their true face,” he alleged.
“Will Mamata-di, Kharge ji, Rahul ji tell us their stand?” Poonawalla asked.
The Formation of INDIA Coalition:
It is important to note that the incident occurred shortly after the formation of the Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA) by 26 opposition parties. The coalition aims to challenge the ruling BJP-led NDA, with Rahul Gandhi stating that the fight would be between INDIA and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Shehzad Poonawalla alleged that while the alliance claimed to have India in its name, its agenda did not reflect the same sentiment. He criticized the past actions of the Samajwadi Party and Congress, accusing them of supporting terrorists and questioning India’s military operations.