Two days after demanding photos of houses that don’t put up the national flag, and framing the ‘Har Ghar Tiranga’ drive as a trust test, Uttarakhand BJP chief Mahendra Bhatt today issued another clarification.
He said his demand for photos was only for BJP workers’ houses, not of the public at large. “I want each one of them (BJP workers) to respond to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call,” news agency PTI quoted him as saying.
It was a caveat to his statements from the earlier two days — videos of which have gone viral and got flak from the Opposition — when he spoke of distrust and asked “what’s the problem”.
On those lines, he said today, “It is my firm belief that whoever feels for this country will not hesitate to unfurl the national flag at their home.”
“It is only natural. After all, why should any Indian have problems in it?” Mr Bhatt said.
The controversy began with his August 10 statement in Haldwani: “We will not be able to trust the household where the Tricolour isn’t put up. I want photos of such houses. Society should be able to see such houses, such families.”
Yesterday, at Dehradun he said he didn’t mean to doubt anyone; but asked again, “Why should any Indian have problems in unfurling the national flag at their home to celebrate the occasion?”
“Our freedom fighters went to the gallows holding the flag high. I want every home across the country to unfurl the national flag in response to the PM’s call to celebrate ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’,” he added, about the drive that’s part of celebrating 75 years of Independence.
He accused the Congress of politicising the issue unnecessarily.
State Congress chief Karan Mehra taunted the BJP and its mentor, the RSS: “I agree with Mr Bhatt’s statement that we can’t trust those who don’t flay the flag. The BJP and Sangh parivar (RSS and affiliates) did not accept the national flag and refused to put it up at the RSS headquarters for 52 years.”
“They are now talking of putting it up at every house so people are diverted from their promises — be it getting black money back in 100 days or giving 2 crore jobs,” he added, listing out some other promises as well.
To bring attention to price-rise of essentials, the Congress had also said that people cannot afford to buy a flag.
In response to that, Mr Bhatt today told PTI, “The national flag is being distributed by the government among people through different mediums. The party is also helping in the exercise.”
“The argument that people don’t have the money to buy the flag has no meaning,” he added.