Bharat Mata: How BJP, Congress scramble over ‘Bharat Mata’ | India News

NEW DELHI: After a tussle over the 26-party opposition naming itself INDIA, an acronym for Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance, the ruling BJP and the principal opponent Congress have now started competing with each to appropriate ‘Bharat Mata’.

Both the prominent parties are trying to prove that they are better well-wishers of Bharat Mata, which stands for the people of the country. The scramble assumes significance in the light of the 2024 Lok Sabha election which is about seven months away and Bharat Mata evokes sentimental attachment of the people, particularly the majority Hindus, with the country.
The latest bout of clash between the two parties started with Congress MP Rahul Gandhi’s remarks about Bharat Mata in Parliament and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s sharp rebuttal to his comments.

Rahul, who had been disqualified as a Lok Sabha MP from Wayanad for his remarks on Modi surname after being convicted by a Surat court, was reinstated on August 7 following the stay on his conviction by the Supreme Court on August 4.
The Lok Sabha started debating the no-confidence motion moved by the Congress on August 8, just a day after Rahul’s membership was restored. On August 9, while speaking on the motion against the BJP-led NDA government, the Congress MP dwelt extensively over the ethnic violence in Manipur.
While accusing the Centre and the BJP-ruled Manipur government of failing to quell the violence in a short period, Rahul alleged that the two dispensations had “murdered” Bharat Mata. “Bharat Mata has been murdered in Manipur,” he said.
This led to a huge uproar in the Lower House. While the opposition defended Rahul, the BJP registered an immediate protest against his remarks against Bharat Mata.
Parliamentary affairs minister Pralhad Joshi took a jibe at the Congress saying it is a good sign that the opposition party has started talking of ‘Bharat Mata’ and raising the slogan of ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ under the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led BJP dispensation.
He also countered Rahul Gandhi’s allegations that the term Bharat Mata had been expunged from Parliament and said “The term ‘Bharat Mata’ has not been expunged. What was unparliamentary has been expunged,” he said.
Replying to the debate on August 10, PM Modi lashed out at Rahul and regretted that while he used remarks against Bharat Mata, the opposition MPs thumped their tables. The PM took strong exception to the remarks of the Congress leader.
As a retort to Rahul, the PM spoke about Bharat Mata in his address to the nation from the ramparts of the Red Fort on Independence Day. He said, “My family members in every corner of India, my family members in every corner of the world, I once again extend my best wishes to all of you on the auspicious festival of Independence Day! And this Amrit kaal is the time of duty for all of us. This Amrit Kaal is the period for all of us to do something for Maa Bharati.”
He ended his 90-minute speech by invoking Bharat Mata. “Jai Hind, Jai Hind, Jai Hind! Bharat Mata ki Jai, Bharat Mata ki Jai, Bharat Mata ki Jai! Vande Mataram! Vande Mataram! Vande Mataram!” he said.
Rahul Gandhi’s statement on Bharat Mata
Even before the PM had delivered the Independence Day speech, Rahul released a statement on X, formerly Twitter, early on August 15 morning.
Titled ‘Bharat Mata is the voice of every Indian’, the statement is basically the Congress leader’s discovery of Bharat Mata. It started by quoting Rumi. “If words come from the heart they will enter the heart,” it read.
In the long statement, Rahul talked about his experience of the Kanyakumari to Kashmir Bharat Jodo Yatra. “Last year I spent a hundred and forty-five days walking across the land I call home. I started at the edge of the sea and walked through heat, dust and rain. Through forests, towns and hills, until I reached the soft snow of my beloved Kashmir,” he said.
Within a few days, he said, the pain arrived. “My old knee injury, one that hours of physiotherapy had banished, was back. The next morning I found myself in tears, sitting alone in a metal container. How was I ever going to walk the 3800 kilometres that lay ahead ? The crutch of arrogance was gone,” he narrated.
He said a few days into the walk, his physio joined him and gave him “sage advice” but the pain remained.
“And then I started to notice something. Every time I would think about stopping, every time I considered giving up, someone would come and gift me the energy to continue,” he said.
Then one day, Rahul said, he felt a silence he had never felt before. “I could hear nothing but the voice of the person holding my hand and talking to me… It felt as if something had died,” he said.
The Congress MP said a farmer spoke about his crop and his suffering. This happened again and again – with children, mothers, students, shop keepers, carpenters and labourers and soldiers. “Now I would almost never hear myself or the crowd… The constant chatter and judgement inside me was gone… I decided I would walk in my t-shirt till I no longer could.”
Rahul then talked about Bharat Mata. “The object of my love had suddenly revealed herself. My beloved Bharat Mata was not a land. It wasn’t a set of ideas. It wasn’t a particular culture, history or religion. Neither was it the caste that people had been assigned. India was the voice of every single Indian, no matter how weak or strong. India was the happiness, the fear and the pain hidden deep inside all the voices,” he said.

Rahul ended his statement by saying: “To hear India, my own voice – my desires – my ambitions had to fall silent. India would speak to one of her own, but only if one was humble and completely silent. How simple it had turned out to be. I had been looking in the river for that which could only be found in the sea.”
The fight over Bharat Mata between the BJP and the Congress is likely to grow as the Lok Sabha election approaches and rhetoric becomes louder and sharper.

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