Amid SP walkout, BMC makes Vande Mataram must in schools

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) Thursday passed a proposal to make singing of national song Vande Mataram compulsory in all civic schools, even as Samajwadi Party corporators walked out of the general body meeting in disagreement. The proposal, which might be extended to government-aided schools in BMC jurisdiction, will now be sent to BMC commissioner Ajoy Mehta for his remarks.

After the proposal was tabled before the civic general body, corporators of the SP and the Congress sought a discussion in the matter. However, the proposal was passed without a discussion and debate. This prompted the SP corporators to stage a walkout.

“We had sought a discussion, and also asked for voting to be conducted on the proposal. This was not considered and the proposal was cleared without any discussion. This is against the rule,” said SP corporator Raees Shaikh.

Following the Madras High Court ruling making Vande Mataram mandatory in schools in Tamil Nadu, Sandeep Patel, a BJP corporator from P-South Ward (Goregaon West) of the BMC had demanded that singing of the national song be made compulsory in BMC-run schools.

Patel filed a notice of motion (NM) regarding it before the general body and the same was tabled on Thursday. The NM filed by Patel stated that every civic school student must sing Vande Mataram at least twice a week. Patel has also demanded that the national song be sung before all BMC committee meetings. Patel said the move will help instill a sense of patriotism among people.

“This will help instill a sense of patriotism among citizens, especially the youth. They need to remember the freedom struggle,” Patel added.

However, Shaikh, while clarifying that neither his party nor he were against Vande Mataram, said: “Our stand is clear. The national song should not be imposed on people. I stand in respect every time Vande Mataram is sung before general body meetings. However, making it mandatory amounts to imposing it on school students.”

Meanwhile, civic officials said there is no set time frame for the civic chief to submit his remarks on the proposal.

“There is no deadline as such for the BMC commissioner to submit his remarks on the proposal passed by the house. However, depending on the civic chief’s remark, the proposal is likely to be discussed again in the general body,” said a senior BMC official.