Can’t trust those who do not hoist Tricolour at home, says Uttarakhand BJP chief

Newly appointed Uttarakhand BJP state president Mahendra Bhatt has kicked up a controversy after he suggested that those who do not have the Tricolour on their house during the Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav celebrations cannot be trusted, and asked for photographs of houses which have not hoisted the flag, only to clarify later that he was quoted out of context.

Addressing an event in Haldwani as part of the government’s Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav celebrations to commemorate the 75th Independence Day, Bhatt had said on Wednesday: “Jiske ghar me tiranga nahi lagega, hum use vishwas ki nazar se kabhi dekh nahi payenge. Mujhe us ghar ka photo chahiye jis ghar me tiranga na laga ho. Samaj dekhna chahta hai us ghar ko. Us parivar ko dekhna chahta hai. Bharat ko lekar asamman ka bhav kis kis parivar ke andar hai (We can never trust the person who does not have the Tricolour at his house. I want a photo of the house which has not hoisted the Tricolour. The society wants to see that house and that family which does not have respect for India).”

Later, Mahendra Bhatt claimed that his statement was taken out of context and that he did not say that the person who does not have the Tricolour at his house should be seen suspiciously. “I only said that those who do not have the Tricolour cannot be trusted by the country. Why would someone have a problem in putting up the Tricolour? This is the kind of mistrust I was talking about,” he told media persons. Bhatt was appointed the state BJP president on July 30 in place of Madan Kaushik.

Reacting to Bhatt’s statement, former Uttarakhand chief minister Harish Rawat said that though the new BJP state president is a very humble person, his statement has created a lot of hurt. “Who is the BJP to measure someone’s patriotism? And only if hoisting the Tricolour is patriotism, then there are several persons and organisations close to them who did not hoist the Tricolour for years. They probably hesitate even today,” Rawat said in a Facebook post.

“Today over 42 crore people in the country are under the poverty line and over 50-55 crore people have a massive question of managing their daily meal. Around 37 crore of these joined the below poverty list during the BJP government. How can these people arrange the money to purchase flags? Those who are ready to sacrifice for the country even after living in poverty are the real patriots,” he said.

Talking to The Indian Express, Congress state president Karan Mahara said that given Bhatt’s statement, people should also not trust the RSS which did not hoist the Tricolour at its headquarters for 52 years. He alleged that after failing to control inflation, unemployment and China’s invasion, the BJP was trying to hide under the national flag.

Meanwhile, attacking the Congress, Uttarakhand minister Rekha Arya said the main motive of Bhatt’s statement was to ensure that the Tricolour is hoisted at every house and to give a message to express patriotism. The Congress, however, has a habit of making an issue out of nothing, she alleged.

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