Two leaders of different opposition parties on Sunday slammed Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis's statement that those who do not say 'Bharat mata ki jai' should leave India and called it a "ploy to divert attention from relevant issues".
"The people who hold 'bhagwa' flag dearer than the Tricolour want to take India back to the medieval ages, " Janata Dal United (JD - U) spokesman K. C. Tyagi told IANS.
Calling those raising the slogan issue as "pseudo - nationalists", Tyagi said the whole affair was a ploy to divert attention from real issues of unemployment, poverty and black money etc.
"They keep coming with such issues. First, it was 'ghar wapsi', then came love 'jihad', which failed to deliver in the Bihar (assembly) elections. Then, the cow became an issue but it has backfired. Now, they have come up with this issue of 'Bharat mata ki jai', " Tyagi said.
Communist Party of India - Marxist (CPI - M) leader Nilotpal Basu called it "tattoo - ism".
"Forcing others to chant 'Bharat mata ki jai' and making statements that those who don't chant it should leave India is not patriotism; it is tattoo - ism. They want to flaunt it like a tattoo on their bodies, " Basu told IANS.
"They are pursuing poisonous politics. The constitution of India gives everyone the freedom to follow their respective faiths. Besides, article 1 of the constitution calls this country as 'India' first and Bharat later. So why should it be Bharat and not India?" Basu contended.
Fadnavis said on Saturday at a BJP rally in Nashik that those who do not wish to say 'Bharat mata ki jai' have no right to stay in Bharat.
Fadnavis said that "crores of people in the country felt that one must say 'Bharat Mata ki jai' and that those who don't praise Bharat Mata have no right to live in this country".