An invite for a G20 summit dinner with 'President of Bharat' inscribed on it along with a media report that the government is planning to rename India as 'Bharat' in the upcoming special session of the Parliament has triggered a massive row.
With special session of Parliament set to begin on 18 September, there is speculation that a Constitutional amendment bill may be introduced to rename the country as Bharat.
According to the reports, the official invite to the G20 Heads of State and ministers for a dinner being hosted by President Droupadi Murmu has gone with the heading 'The President of Bharat'.
The G20 Summit is being held in New Delhi from 9 to 10 September under India’s presidency and several heads of state from across the world, including US President Joe Biden, are attending the event.
Attacking the government over the Presidential invite, the Congress on Tuesday (5 September) alleged that the “Union of States” is under assault in the Modi government as it claimed that a G20 dinner invite refers to the President as “President of Bharat”.
“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’,” Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh said in a post on X (formerly Twitter).
“Now, Article 1 in the Constitution can read: “Bharat, that was India, shall be a Union of States," he said.
But now even this “Union of States” is under assault,” Ramesh alleged.
In another tweet, Ramesh accused the Prime Minister of distorting history and dividing India.
"Modi can continue to distort history and divide India, that is Bharat, that is a Union of States. But we will not be deterred. After all, what is the objective of INDIA parties? It is BHARAT—Bring Harmony, Amity, Reconciliation And Trust. Judega BHARAT Jeetega INDIA!," he added.
Another Congress leader Gaurav Gogoi told news agency PTI that the Congress party accepts both 'India' and 'Bharat'.
However, he also attacked the BJP government, saying that the party was afraid of the Opposition I.N.D.I. Alliance.
"We accept both 'India' and 'Bharat' names and feel proud on them. The 'I' in ISRO is India, the 'I' in IITs is India, the 'I' in IIMs is India, the 'I' in IPS is India. The BJP's politics has stooped so low because they are afraid of the INDIA (opposition) alliance," Gogoi was quoted as saying by PTI.
Congress leader Shashi Tharoor said that while there is no constitutional objection to calling India “Bharat”, he hopes the government will "not be so foolish" as to completely dispense with "India", which has "incalculable" brand value.
"While there is no constitutional objection to calling India “Bharat”, which is one of the country’s two official names, I hope the government will not be so foolish as to completely dispense with “India”, which has incalculable brand value built up over centuries. We should continue to use both words rather than relinquish our claim to a name redolent of history, a name that is recognised around the world," Tharoor said on X.
Similarly, the Aam Aadmi Party, another member of the I.N.D.I. Alliance, also attacked the BJP over renaming of the country.
AAP chief and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal alleged that BJP is changing the name of the country as it fears the Opposition I.N.D.I. Alliance.
"These people (BJP) are so upset with the INDIA alliance that they will even change the name of the country? If tomorrow we name our alliance “Bharat”, will they change the name “Bharat” as well?" Kejriwal said.
Manoj Jha, a leader of the RJD, another I.N.D.I. Alliance party, also questioned the government's move.
"It has just been a few weeks since we named our alliance as INDIA and BJP has started sending invitations with 'Republic of Bharat' instead of 'Republic of India'. Article 1 of the Constitution reads 'India that is Bharat'. Neither you will be able to take India from us nor Bharat," Jha said, reports NDTV.
In response to Congress' attack, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president JP Nadda said, "Why does the Congress have objection to every subject related to the honor and pride of the country?"
"Why do those who do political tours in the name of Bharat Jodo and hate the slogan of 'Bharat Mata Ki Jai'?," Nadda wrote on X.
"It is clear that the Congress has neither respect for the country, nor for the constitution of the country, nor for the constitutional institutions," he said
"The party (Congress) wants to praise a particular family. The whole country knows very well the anti-national and anti-constitutional intentions of the Congress," the BJP chief added.
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