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MP's Cong govt changes tune on 'Vande Mataram', adds police band

twitter-logoPTI | January 3, 2019 | Updated 18:53 IST

Bhopal, Jan 3 (PTI) Changing its tune after a controversy, Kamal Nath-led Congress government in Madhya Pradesh on Thursday decided to restore singing of 'Vande Mataram' at the state secretariat from next month, but in a new avatar by roping in a police band and local citizens besides adding the national anthem in the exercise. A controversy had erupted when the new government discontinued the practice of government employees singing 'Vande Mataram' on the first working day of every month at the secretariat here. Vande Mataram was not sung at the secretariat on January 1, snapping a practice that was followed for 13 years and had been started by the previous BJP government. After facing criticism from the BJP over discontinuation of the practice, the Kamal Nath government, which took charge in December, has now decided to restore the exercise in a new form from from February onwards. "Under the new programme, the police band will start a march from Shaurya Smarak (memorial for martyred soldiers) at 10.45 AM (on first working day of every month) playing tunes of patriotic songs to reach Ballabh Bhawan (secretariat) along with local citizens and a minister," an official release said. "Upon reaching the mantralaya after covering a distance of nearly half a kilometer along with the people, the band will play both the national anthem (Jana Gana Mana) and the national song (Vande Mataram)," it said. the state government release said its ministers will take turn to participate in the programme. After the row, Chief Minister Kamal Nath had said his government was not opposed to signing of the national song and it will give a different touch to the practice. "We have not taken this decision (discontinuation of the practice) under any agenda and we are also not opposed to singing Vande Mataram. "It is deeply rooted in our hearts and we have sung it from time-to-time. We will start it again but in a different form," Nath had said in a statement. He had also criticised attempts to politicise the issue. Former BJP chief minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan tweeted that the new government has been forced to restore the practice under public pressure, but the state wants to know whether Congress president Rahul Gandhi was behind the earlier decision or it was decided by Kamal Nath alone. PTI MAS RSY BJ BJ

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