Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday while addressing a rally in Darbangha, Bihar, slammed members of the Opposition for their reluctance in saying 'Vande Mataram' and also countered arguments made by his opponents dismissing terrorism as a trivial issue.
"Some people have a problem in saying 'Vande Mataram'. Shouldn't such people's bail be scrapped? These people have a problem with talking about India. They question why does Modi talk about terrorism when it is not an issue at all. You tell me, aren't national security and terrorism issues to discuss?" he said, not naming anyone directly.
Explaining the gravity of national security and anti-terrorism policies, he questioned how the Opposition could trivialize terrorism post the Colombo blasts.
"What you feel is an issue, these selfish dynasts don't have any knowledge about. Oh, Mahamilawat people, the terrorism which has claimed more than 350 innocent live in Sri Lanka in this week, is this not an issue?" he added.
Earlier on Wednesday, BJP candidate for the Bhopal constituency, Sadhvi Pragya Thakur stirred up a controversy asking people to prove loyalty towards India by mandatorily saying 'Vande Mataram' during a roadshow in Bhopal.
"You will have to say Vande Mataram. If you eat, drink in this country and make use of every facility of this country and you're born here. If you can't be there for your country, you can't be there for anyone in the world," Thakur said amid her roadshow.
The Vande Mataram controversy, while not a new one, has come up again on a few occasions in the lead up to the elections.
On March 21, SP-BSP candidate for the Sambhal constituency in Uttar Pradesh Shafiqur Barq had given 'Vande Mataram' a communal spin, saying 'it is against Islam.'
"I am against Vande Mataram. It is against Islam. I cannot follow it," said Shafiqur Rahman Barq while speaking to reporters. In 2013, Barq had walked out of the Lok Sabha while 'Vande Mataram' was playing in the house citing the same reason.
Previously on January 1, 2019, the Madhya Pradesh government-led by Congress leader Kamal Nath put hold on the recitation of the national song Vande Mataram in the Secretariat on the first working day of every month which had gotten major pushback from BJP leaders like party president Amit Shah and former Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Chouhan calling the act a 'treason' and against Nationalism. It was later re-introduced with changes to the protocol.