NEW DELHI: With the “India-Bharat” name row turning into a heated debate between the government and
, Congress leader Shashi Tharoor on Wednesday proposed an interesting solution.
In a swipe at the government, Tharoor said that the opposition bloc could now call itself “BHARAT” instead of “INDIA”.
“We could of course call ourselves the Alliance for Betterment, Harmony And Responsible Advancement for Tomorrow (BHARAT),” the Congress MP said on X.
He added that the ruling party might then stop the “fatuous game of changing names”.
Tharoor’s quip comes after invitations for a G20 dinner sent out by President Droupadi Murmu mentioned her position as ‘President of Bharat’ instead of the customary ‘President of India’.
This triggered a massive furore, with the opposition alleging that the Modi government is planning to drop India and stay with just Bharat as the country’s name.
While India is one of the official names of the country – the other being Bharat – it also serves as an acronym for the newly-formed opposition bloc: Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance.
The Congress is a constituent of the opposition’s INDIA.
On Tuesday, Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh had said, “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 (alliance) parties? It is BHARAT—Bring Harmony, Amity, Reconciliation And Trust. Judega BHARAT. Jeetega INDIA!”
Tharoor on Tuesday had said while there is no constitutional objection to calling India ‘Bharat’, he hopes the government will not be so “foolish” to completely dispense with ‘India’ which has “incalculable brand value”.
The Congress MP had also claimed it was Pakistan’s founder Mohammad Ali Jinnah who had objected to the name ‘India’ since it implied that “our country was the successor state to the British Raj and Pakistan a seceding state”.
(With inputs from agencies)