MUMBAI: Continuing the controversy over singing national song Vande Mataram in Maharashtra Legislative Assembly on Friday, senior BJP MLA Eknath Khadse told Samajwadi Party MLA Abu Azmi that he would have to sing Vande Mataram if he wished to stay in this country.
Azmi, who had said on Thursday that his religion did not permit him to sing the song, reiterated his stand on the issue. "Islam does not allow me to worship anybody other than the almighty Allah. Vande Mataram talks of worshiping the motherland and hence no pious Muslim can sing the patriotic song," he said. He also urged the members of the House, citing several references from history and freedom struggle, that Muslims should not be branded anti-nationals.
Picking up the cue, senior BJP leader Eknath Khadse then asked Azmi, "If patriots of all religions sang Vande Mataram alike, what prevents some of them from singing it in free India?"
"Muslims are part of this country. They are dependent on this motherland from birth to burial and hence they should sing Vande Mataram or else leave the country," he said.
The controversy was kicked off on Thursday when BJP MLA Raj Purohit told the media that he would insist on state government introducing a policy to make singing Vande Mataram compulsory.