Pulwama, September 6
National Conference leader Omar Abdullah on Wednesday said the opposition INDIA bloc is ready to change its name if it has triggered the Centre's push for Bharat instead of India.
His remarks came after invitations for a G20 dinner sent out by President Droupadi Murmu, describing her position as 'President of Bharat' instead of the customary 'President of India', triggered a massive furore on Tuesday with the opposition alleging that the Narendra Modi government is planning to drop India and stay with just Bharat as the country's name.
"If the trigger is the opposition parties naming their alliance INDIA, we will change our (alliance) name. We don't want to put the nation in trouble. We are not here to increase the expenditure of the nation, but to reduce it. If we get a slight hint that it is being done because the alliance's name is INDIA, we will change our name,” Abdullah told reporters here, about 35 km from Srinagar.
Abdullah said while both India and Bharat were mentioned as the names of the country in the Constitution, the former should not be dropped from the statute.
“It is written in our Constitution. Both names are there, we use both names. If you look at the aircraft of the prime minister in which he is going to Indonesia today, both names are inscribed on it - India as well as Bharat," the former chief minister said.
"If the prime minister, for some reason, does not want to use the name India, let him not. But it (India) should not be removed from the Constitution and it should be left to our choice,” he added.
Abdullah also questioned the rationale behind the preference being given to Bharat instead of India.
“If you decide to remove it (India), from where will you remove it? Will the name of the State Bank of India change? Will the name of ISRO, which recently completed the Chandrayaan-3 mission successfully, change? IIT, IIM and how many more institutions' names will you change?” he asked.
Asked about the special session of parliament scheduled later this month, Abdullah said, “There is no agenda for the special session of parliament. Had there been an agenda, we would have spoken about it." "As far as ‘One Nation, One Election' is concerned, committees have been formed earlier as well at least four or five times. Now this is a new committee, what is the purpose, we do not know.
"If the aim is to make the process easier, then no one should have problems with it. But if you are trying to finish the regional parties by ‘One Nation, One Election,' then we are strongly against it. If the aim is to harm the federal structure of the country, we are against it as well. No one will support this if the aim is one nation, no election,” he added.
Reacting to the prime minister's statement on economic growth and political stability, Abdullah said the dividends of the growth were not visible on the ground.
“The growth has been there earlier as well and much higher. Today, there is room for more growth but we do not see adequate effects of the growth on the ground. Unemployment, inflation and agricultural distress are on the rise in the country. You might give the data of growth but the benefits that the youth should get from it are not there,” he added.
Meanwhile, PDP spokesperson Mohit Bhan said the controversy around India being renamed as Bharat was a diversionary tactic.
“Whether you call it India or Bharat, the poverty remains the same, the inflation remains the same, corruption is still there. There is no difference between the two. The situation that the country is going through - be it unemployment, corruption, inflation or the atmosphere of hate in Manipur and Nuh (Haryana) - will not change by calling the country Bharat," Bhan said in Srinagar.
"The basic issues which could have caught the attention of the G20 delegates have been smartly sidelined by the government. Our appeal to the people is that they should raise questions on the basic issues,” Bhan said.
He said as far as the constitutional validity is concerned, “We have seen that the constituent assembly passed the name after a lot of deliberations and discussions.” Bhan said even ‘One Nation, One Election' was “just a slogan as there is no draft so far.” “Again it is a diversion from main issues on which the government has failed in the past nine years,” he said.
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