RJD Leader Invites Criticism from BJP, JD-U over his Vande Mataram Comment

RJD leader Abdul Bari Siddiqui (file photo).

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Patna: In a statement that is certain to come back to haunt him, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) senior leader Abdul Bari Siddiqui on Sunday said that while he had no problem saying 'Bharat Mata ki Jai', he was opposed to reciting India's national song Vande Mataram.

The former Finance Minister under the Lalu-Rabri regime in Bihar said that singing Vande Mataram was against his core beliefs and would never sing it despite it being the national anthem.

"No one who believes in one God will not ever recite Vande Mataram," he said.

In a rant that was certain to rile up his Muslim base while annoying the Hindu voters, Siddiqui, who will be facing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate Gopalji Thakur in the battle of Darbhanga, called Nathuram Godse, the killer of Mahatma Gandhi, the 'first terrorist' of India and challenged Prime Minister to denounce him publicly before forcing others to sing Vande Mataram.

The reaction, as anticipated, was quick and harsh.

BJP spokesperson Nikhil Anand, calling Siddiqui's statement a political stunt to muster some headline, said that the RJD candidate was bracing to receive the worst defeat of his lifetime and therefore, was making nonsensical comments to change the subject.

On his comment on Nathuram Godse, Anand wanted to know if Siddiqui was ready to publicly condemn 'Maulanawad, or the Sharia Law under the rise of rules by clergymen).

"By refusing to respect the national anthem, Abdul Bari Siddiqui has joined the likes of Azam Khan and Mehbooba Mufti who have consistently shown a disrespect for the nation and everything it stands for," the BJP leader said.

Janata Dal – U spokesperson Ajay Alok was equally unforgiving in his reaction to Siddiqui's comments.

"Siddiqui is influenced by people like Asaduddin Owaisi and Tejaswi Yadav who have zero respect for India and its history. Vande Matram is directly connected with India's freedom struggle against the British. And as far as who is the first terrorist of India, perhaps Siddiqui is forgetting that the Mughals were the first terrorists who killed hundreds of thousands of Hindus and also forcibly converted millions into adopting Islam," the JD-U leader said.

Meanwhile, Congress, an ally of the RJD in Bihar, reproached Siddiqui without taking his name.

"People should try to refrain from making controversial statements," senior Congress leader Prem Chandra Mishra said.

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