Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath has said that reciting the national song, 'Vande Mataram' cannot validate one's patriotism.
Nath's statement comes hours after his government decided to put on hold the previous BJP government's tradition to recite the national song in the secretariat on the first working day of every month.
"We've no intentions of breaking or protesting against the national song. The order to recite Vande Mataram in the Secretariat on the first day of the month has been put on hold. A decision has been taken to implement the order in a new form. Those who do not recite Vande Mataram are not patriots?" Nath said.
"We believe that we are nationalist by hearts. One can't become patriotic by reciting Vande Mataram for one day," he added.
The state government's decision has not gone down well with former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan who asked Congress to restart the 14-year-old tradition.
"The song renders new energy to the patriotism present in the hearts of people. This is extremely unfortunate that the Congress has ended this convention. Today, Vande Mataram was not sung... Congress perhaps has forgotten that governments come and go, but there is nothing more important than the country and patriotism. I demand that the song is sung before a cabinet meeting as always, and it should also be sung at Vallabh Bhawan on the first day of the month," Chouhan wrote in a series of tweets on Tuesday.
Madhya Pradesh has a trend of singing the national song in the secretariat on the first working day of every month.
Stating that his party believes in the concepts of secularism and nationalism, Nath stated, "Congress has fought for the independence of this country. We are not liable to give any validification to anyone on how patriotic we are."
Criticising the BJP for doubting the intentions of his party, the Chief Minister said, "BJP should stop doing politics on nationalism. These issues are taken up to distract common men from the real issues of poverty, corruption and unemployment."