A senior functionary of BJP, Prem Shukla, on Saturday insulted India Today’s female anchor, Devina Gupta, when the latter asked him the meaning of Vande Mataram on a live TV before fleeing the show in a fit of anger.
Shukla, who’s been a known BJP face on Indian TV, told the anchor to ‘shut up’ before leaving the show.
The channel was discussing the development in Maharashtra’s Aurangabad Municipal Corporation on Saturday, where the mayor had suspended two AIMIM corporators after they remained seated when Vande Matarm song was being rendered.
Gupta asked Shukla if by continuously raising issues of ‘Hindu interests’ they were not going against Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s famous slogan ‘sabka saath sabka vikaas (inclusive development).” She asked the BJP representative to explain his position in 30 seconds. This irked the BJP spokesperson, who first used expletives for the AIMIM corporators likening them to ‘street thugs.’
In a typical BJP spokespersons’ style, Shukla began to justify his stand on Vande Mataram by claiming that this was a constitutional obligation and even invoked Dr Rajendra Prasad, India’s first president.
To which, Gupta asked Shukla to come back to the main topic of the debate and explain his stance in 30 seconds. An angry Shukla replied, ‘Shut Up.’ Moments later, he rose, removed his mic and walked off the show.
Gupta remained steadfast and refused to get rattled by Shukla’s attempts to bully a woman journalist.
Later, speaking to Janta Ka Reporter, Shukla defended his action arguing that the anchor ought to have stopped the AIMIM spokesperson from ‘insulting’ BankimChandra Chatterjee, who penned the lyrics of Vande Mataram.
This is not the first time a BJP leader has faced embarrassment on India Today. Not too long ago, a cabinet minister Yogi Adityanath was left red-faced after he failed to recite even few lines of Vande Mataram, a song that the saffron party wants to make mandatory for every Indian.
Two AIMIM corporators were suspended amid a ruckus after they refused to stand up when ‘Vande Mataram’ was sung at the start of the day’s proceedings in the Aurangabad Municipal Corporation on Saturday.
Protesting against this, ruling Shiv Sena-Bharatiya Janata Party corporators rushed to the well of the house and raised loud slogans against the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) duo who remained seated when the song was being rendered.
The AIMIM is the largest Opposition party with 25 corporators while the ruling Shiv Sena has 29 and the BJP 22. The other Opposition parties include eight from the Congress, three of the Nationalist Congress Party and 24 independents/others in the 113-member AMC house.
Note: This story has been updated with the comments from Shukla, who we spoke to a while ago.