Mumbai (Vinod Jagdale for News24): Amid the rising debate over "Bharat Mata Ki Jai", Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Saturday said those unwilling to chant the slogan are divisive forces, who wish to create rift in the country. While addressing a public meeting here, Fadnavis said, "We absolutely have no problem if somebody says Jai Hind or Jai Bharat or Jai Hindustan, but all we object about is when someone says, 'I won't say Bharat Mata Ki Jai'...Those who are opposing it have malafide interests and intentions.They are those divisive forces who want to create a rift in our country and wish to break the unity. Why should we tolerate it?" He further pointed out that the slogan had nothing to do with religion "'Bharat Mata Ki Jai' has nothing to do with religion. I salute those 500 plus patriotic, highly placed and highly respected Muslim clerics who not only hoisted National flag at Mahim Dargah but also chanted Bharat Mata Ki Jai with a feeling of nationalism and patriotism on March 17 on occasion of 603rd Urs of Hajrat Makhdum Fateh Ali Mahimi," said Fadnavis. He also criticised Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi for allegedly "backing" those who chant "anti-national" slogans. He said the opposition parties have the right to voice their protest against BJP, but not oppose 'Bharat Mata...' slogan. Speaking on the raging controversy over women's entry being prohibited in some places of worship in Maharashtra, Fadnavis said as per Hindu culture "there is no discrimination in gender or caste, and it's not right to deny entry to women in any temple."
(Vinod Jagdale can be reached at [email protected])