Hyderabad: In a dig at AIMIM president Asaduddin Owaisi for his refusal to raise the 'Bharat Mata ki Jai' slogan, Union minister and senior BJP leader M Venkaiah Naidu on Sunday asked what is wrong in worshipping mother.
"It has become a fashion now to make an extreme meaning of everything and mocking at it. I won't say 'Bharat Mata ki Jai' even if my life is taken out. Before he reached gallows, (freedom fighter) Bhagat Singh said 'Bharat Mata ki Jai'," Naidu said at an event in Hyderabad.
Naidu, who did not name Owaisi, said, "During the freedom movement, 'Vande Mataram' united all Indians. It means 'Mata' (mother), salutation to you. What 'Mata'? not Christian 'Mata', Hindu 'Mata', 'Muslim 'Mata', forward 'Mata', backward 'Mata'. 'Mata' is 'Mata'. What is the objection in that. Why, (it is said that) there is worship in that. Which religion said not to worship mother. Let me know. I am trying to know. I am ready for a debate".
Alleging that such comments are made for vote-bank politics, Naidu asked if "he" (Owaisi) is the only leader of Muslims".
"Did Muslims say 'Bharat Mata' is not needed," he said, adding that religion is personal.
'Bharat Mata ki Jai' does not mean worshipping the image of 'Bharat Mata' but having such a feeling inside, the Union Urban Development Minister added.
According to him, 'Bharat Mata' encompassed all Indians.
In a veiled attack on Congress, Naidu added "those who looted the country" express solidarity with those seeking "azadi" from corruption.
On the assertions of freedom of speech made in various quarters, the Minister said one's freedom of speech should not inconvenience others.
The freedom of speech should not lead to social disharmony or law and order problems and that it should be within parameters of the Constitution, he said.
Earlier this month, amid the charged debate over patriotism, Owaisi had ruffled some political feathers saying he won't chant 'Bharat Mata Ki Jai' "even if you put knife to my throat".