G20 dinner invite says Droupadi Murmu as ‘President of Bharat’, triggers political slugfest

AG20 dinner invitation from President Droupadi Murmu describing her position as ‘President of Bharat’ triggered massive debate on Tuesday, with the opposition alleging that the government is planning to drop India and stay with just Bharat as the country’s name.

Lending credence to the speculation, Union minister Dharmendra Pradhan shared on X a G20 dinner invitation from the president for Saturday at Bharat Mandapam, the venue for the G20 summit of world leaders.

Sharing a picture of his invite, Pradhan used the hashtag ‘#PresidentOfBharat’ and said, “Jana Gana Mana Adhinayak Jaya He, Bharat Bhagya Vidhata”.

Besides the first line of the national anthem, the post in Hindi also used the words “Jai Ho”.

The invitation, which was widely shared on social media, led to a storm of reactions with the opposition alleging that the move was reflective of the BJP being scared of the INDIA bloc and the ruling party asserting that there was nothing wrong in using Bharat as it is part of the Constitution.

Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh said in a post on X, “So the news is indeed true. Rashtrapati Bhawan has sent out an invite for a G20 dinner on Sept 9th in the name of ‘President of Bharat’ instead of the usual ‘President of India’.”

“Now, Article 1 in the Constitution can read: Bharat, that was India, shall be a Union of States.But now even this Union of States is under assault,” Ramesh alleged.

In another post, he said the BJP was the one which had come up with the India Shining’ campaign to which the Congress’ response was ‘Aam Aadmi ko Kya Mila’.

“Also remember that it was the BJP that came up with Digital India, Start Up India, New India, and so on to which the Congress’ response was the Bharat Jodo Yatra, the first anniversary of whose launch is day after tomorrow,” he said.

In another post, Ramesh said, “Mr. Modi can continue to distort history and divide India, that is Bharat, that is a Union of States. But we will not be deterred.”

As leaders of the opposition INDIA bloc took up the refrain to criticise the government, many BJP leaders hit back.

West Bengal Chief Minister and TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee said ,”We all know India is Bharat, but world knows us as India.”

What changed suddenly that we should use only Bharat, she asked.

Her Tamil Nadu counterpart M K Stalin also lashed out at the government over the issue, saying that after “non-BJP forces united to dethrone the fascist BJP regime” and aptly named their alliance INDIA (Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance), now the BJP wants to change ‘India’ for ‘Bharat.’

“BJP promised to TRANSFORM India, but all we got is a name change after 9 years!Seems like the BJP is rattled by a single term called India because they recognise the strength of unity within the opposition. During the elections, ‘India’ will chase BJP out of power!” Stalin said.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal asked whether the BJP would change the name of Bharat if the opposition alliance INDIA rechristens itself Bharat.

Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) president Sharad Pawar said no one has the right to change the country’s name.

Hitting back, Union minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar asked what is the problem with using ‘President of Bharat’ as our country is also Bharat.

“Congress looks at everything as tinkering. Sometimes they will talk about eradicating ‘Sanatan Dharma’. I don’t see there is any problem. If we won’t use the name of Bharat as Bharat then what else,” he said.

BJP general secretary Tarun Chugh slammed the opposition, saying sometimes they have a problem with Vande Matram and other times they have an issue with nationalism.

“Bharat word is not new. It has been used since ancient times. Bharat Mata and Vande Matram is in our blood and nothing will happen by your opposition. Bharat word is mentioned in the Constitution. New Khiljis and new Mughals have come who want to remove Bharat,” he said.

In a post on X, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said, “REPUBLIC OF BHARAT – happy and proud that our civilisation is marching ahead boldly towards AMRIT KAAL.”

Hitting out at Congress’ criticism, he said in another post, “Now my apprehension has proven to be true. The Congress party seems to have a strong aversion towards Bharat. It appears that the name ‘I.N.D.I alliance’ was intentionally chosen with the aim of defeating BHARAT.”

The opposition also claimed that it was reflective of the BJP’s “jitteriness” over the INDIA bloc.

Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Manoj Jha said the BJP is jittery because of the INDIA alliance.

“We did not know BJP would be so jittery.. It has been only a few weeks since this INDIA alliance was formed, you are bringing resolution to change ‘Republic of India’ to the ‘Republic of Bharat’…” Jha said.

“Our Constitution very clearly says ‘India that is Bharat’, and our (opposition alliance) tagline says – ‘Judega Bharat, Jitega India’…People will snatch away the power that is enabling you to do this, people love both India and Bharat,” Jha said.

Weighing in on the issue, PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti said the BJP was using its majority in Parliament to treat the entire country as its “fiefdom”.

“BJPs aversion to India’s foundational principle of unity in diversity has touched a new low. By reducing India’s many names from Hindustan and India to now only Bharat shows its pettiness and intolerance,” she posted on X.

Congress general secretary K C Venugopal charged that the BJP’s destructive mind can only think of how to divide people.

“Once again, they are creating a rift between Indians and Bharatiyas. Let’s be clear – we are the same! As Article 1 says – India, that is Bharat, shall be a Union of States. This is petty politics because they are scared of INDIA,” he said.

“Try what you will, Modi ji. Judega Bharat, Jeetega INDIA!” Venugopal said in a post on X.

Congress leader Shashi Tharoor said while there is no constitutional objection to calling India ‘Bharat’, he hopes the government will not be so foolish to completely dispense with ‘India’ which has incalculable brand value.

The Congress, in a post on X, also said, “So scared of INDIA? Is this the Modi government’s hatred for the opposition or the whim of a scared dictator?”

Source: IANS

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