The buzz about the change of the country's name from "India" to "Bharat" has started a flurry of meetings in the Opposition camp. A meeting of Congress's parliamentary leaders is in progress at the house of Sonia Gandhi. It will be followed by a meet of opposition bloc INDIA leaders at the residence of party chief Mallikarjun Kharge.
The buzz had exploded this morning with the news that the President Droupadi Murmu's invite to G20 leaders introduces her as the "President of Bharat" instead of the traditional "President of India".
The G20 booklet handed to foreign delegates has been titled "Bharat, The Mother Of Democracy". "Bharat is the official name of the country. It is mentioned in the Constitution as also in the discussions of 1946-48," it mentions.
Coming ahead of parliament's five-day special session starting September 18, for which no agenda has been provided by the government, this has raised speculation to a fever pitch and rekindled the 'India versus Bharat' debate. Many BJP leaders and celebrities including Amitabh Bachchan, Virender Sehwag and others, have hailed "Bharat" on social media.
It has also sparked indignant protests from the Opposition, which called it the government's knee-jerk reaction to the formation of the INDIA bloc ahead of next year's general election. Many leaders declared that the BJP has not received any mandate to change the name of the country.
"Will BJP replace 'Bharat' with something else, if INDIA alliance changes its name to Bharat?" Delhi Chief Minister and Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal questioned.
"What happened suddenly that you will change the name of the country?" questioned Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, pointing out that while in Hindi, the term "Bharat ka Samvidhan (Constitution of India)" is used, "the world knows us by the name of India".Advertisement
Congress's Jairam Ramesh posted on X, formerly Twitter: "Mr. Modi can continue to distort history and divide India, that is Bharat, that is a Union of States. But we will not be deterred. After all, what is the objective of INDIA parties? It is BHARAT—Bring Harmony, Amity, Reconciliation And Trust. Judega BHARAT Jeetega INDIA!"
The change follows the comment of Mohan Bhagwat -- the chief of the BJP's ideological mentor Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh -- exhorting that the country now be called Bharat. "At times we use India to make those who speak English understand... The name of the country Bharat will remain Bharat wherever you go in the world." he had said.