As BJP hails move to replace ‘India’ with ‘Bharat’, Opposition leaders say it is scared of INDIA

Opposition leaders including Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah and his TN counterpart MK Stalin said that the speculated move was unwanted.

BySouth First Desk

Published Sep 05, 2023 | 6:38 PMUpdatedSep 05, 2023 | 6:39 PM

India Bharat

Opposition party leaders, including Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and his Tamil Nadu counterpart MK Stalin, on Tuesday, 5 September, said that the speculated move by the Union government to drop “India” and stay with just “Bharat” as the country’s name was unwanted.

The speculations of such a move were sparked following the G20 dinner invitation from President Droupadi Murmu describing her position as “President of Bharat”.

Lending credence to the speculation, Union minister Dharmendra Pradhan shared on X (formerly Twitter) a G20 dinner invitation from the President for Saturday at Bharat Mandapam, the venue for the G20 summit of world leaders.

Sharing a picture of his invite, Pradhan used the hashtag ‘#PresidentOfBharat’ and said, “Jana Gana Mana Adhinayak Jaya He, Bharat Bhagya Vidhata”.

Besides the first line of the national anthem, the post in Hindi also used the words “Jai Ho” with the Tricolour emoji.

Related: ‘Bharat’ replaces ‘India’ in G20 dinner invite by President Murmu

‘BJP scared of INDIA bloc’

The invitation, which was widely shared on social media, led to a storm of reactions, with the Opposition alleging that the move was reflective of the BJP being scared of the INDIA bloc and the ruling party asserting that there was nothing wrong in using Bharat as it was part of the Constitution.

Siddaramaiah on Tuesday said “India” was an accepted word for the country, and attempts now to change it to ‘Bharat’ were not required.

He also pointed out that the word India was incorporated into the Constitution, and it was called the “Constitution of India”.

“In our Constitution, it (‘India’) is incorporated and it is called the ‘Constitution of India’. ‘India’ is an accepted word for our country. Making it Bharat, I don’t think it is required,” Siddaramaiah told reporters in Bengaluru.

Meanwhile, Stalin lashed out at the government over the issue, saying that after “non-BJP forces united to dethrone the fascist BJP regime” and aptly named their alliance INDIA (Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance), now the BJP wants to change “India” for “Bharat”.

Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister and state Congress president DK Shivakumar, opposing any such move, said, “It is not right. Don’t do such politics. You (the BJP) are not going to remain in power for long.”

Speaking to reporters in Kanakapura, he said, “This is the Republic of India. Our currency notes, too, say Reserve Bank of India… Just because we (various non-NDA parties in the country) have called our alliance INDIA, they (the BJP-led government at the Centre) are unable to digest it and are planning to do this. It shows the amount of fear they have about us, how much they are affected, and that they are able to see their defeat.”

‘India will chase BJP out of power’

“BJP promised to TRANSFORM India, but all we got is a name change after 9 years! Seems like the BJP is rattled by a single term called India because they recognise the strength of unity within the opposition. During the elections, ‘India’ will chase BJP out of power! [sic]” Stalin said.

West Bengal Chief Minister and TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee said, “We all know India is Bharat, but the world knows us as India.”

“What changed suddenly that we should use only Bharat?” she asked.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal asked whether the BJP would change the name of Bharat if the Opposition alliance INDIA rechristened itself “Bharat”.

Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) president Sharad Pawar said no one had the right to change the country’s name.

As leaders of the Opposition INDIA bloc took up the refrain to criticise the government, many BJP leaders hit back.

Union minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar asked what is the problem with using ‘President of Bharat’ as our country is also Bharat.

“Congress looks at everything as tinkering. Sometimes they will talk about eradicating ‘Sanatan Dharma’. I don’t see there is any problem. If we won’t use the name of Bharat as Bharat then what else,” he said.

Also read: BJP likens Udhayanidhi comment to Hitler’s characterisation of Jews

‘BJP can only think of how to divide people’

Congress general secretary KC Venugopal charged that the BJP’s destructive mind can only think of how to divide people.

“Once again, they are creating a rift between Indians and Bharatiyas. Let’s be clear – we are the same! As Article 1 says – India, that is Bharat, shall be a Union of States. This is petty politics because they are scared of INDIA,” he said.

“Try what you will, Modi ji. Judega Bharat, Jeetega INDIA!” Venugopal said in a post on X.

The Congress, in a post on X, also said, “So scared of INDIA? Is this the Modi government’s hatred for the opposition or the whim of a scared dictator?”

BJP general secretary Tarun Chugh slammed the Opposition, saying sometimes they have a problem with Vande Mataram and other times they have an issue with nationalism.

“Bharat word is not new. It has been used since ancient times. Bharat Mata and Vande Mataram are in our blood and nothing will happen by your opposition. The word Bharat is mentioned in the Constitution. New Khiljis and new Mughals have come who want to remove Bharat,” he said.

Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Manoj Jha said the BJP was jittery because of the INDIA alliance.

“We did not know BJP would be so jittery.. It has been only a few weeks since this INDIA alliance was formed, you are bringing resolution to change ‘Republic of India’ to the ‘Republic of Bharat’…” Jha said.

“Our Constitution very clearly says ‘India that is Bharat’, and our (opposition alliance) tagline says – ‘Judega Bharat, Jitega India’…People will snatch away the power that is enabling you to do this, people love both India and Bharat,” Jha said.

Weighing in on the issue, PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti said the BJP was using its majority in Parliament to treat the entire country as its “fiefdom”.

“BJPs aversion to India’s foundational principle of unity in diversity has touched a new low. By reducing India’s many names from Hindustan and India to now only Bharat shows its pettiness and intolerance,” she posted on X.

(With PTI inputs)