The masthead of a dinner invitation from the president’s office sent to G20 summit delegates described Droupadi Murmu as the “President of Bharat” instead of the usual “President of India”.

Scroll contacted the offices of chief ministers who had received the invitation. An official confirmed that the invitation had been sent by “President of Bharat”.

Photos of the invitation show that the president will host a dinner event for the delegates on September 9.

Congress General Secretary Jairam Ramesh said that it was an attempt by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to distort the country’s history.

He also made a reference to the Opposition parties’ INDIA coalition, saying that its objective was “BHARAT – Bring Harmony, Amity, Reconciliation And Trust.”

The invitation from the president comes to light three days after Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh chief Mohan Bhagwat made an appeal to citizens to stop saying India and use Bharat instead when referring to the country.

“The name of our country has been Bharat for ages,” he said at an event in Guwahati. “Whatever may be the language, the name remains the same.”

On Tuesday, Bharatiya Janata Party MP Harnath Singh Yadav echoed Bhagwat.

“The kind of inspiration and devotion that the word Bharat invokes, India can never do,” he told ANI. “...India is an abuse that the British used for us. They used the word to refer to anyone who they though were uncouth, fools and criminals.”

Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma also tweeted: “Republic of Bharat – happy and proud that our civilisation is marching ahead boldly towards Amrit Kaal.”

Union Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar told reporters that there was no problem in referring to Murmu as the “President of Bharat”.

On being asked about Congress’ allegation that the Bharatiya Janata Party was trying to tweak the Constitution, Chandrasekhar said: “Congress has a problem with everything. Our country is Bharat and on that there should be no two doubts about this.”

Rashtriya Janata Dal MP Manoj Jha told reporters that the invitation showed that the BJP was scared of the INDIA coalition.

Delhi Chief Minister and Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal said that the development is a reaction to Opposition parties alliance naming itself INDIA.

“If an alliance of some parties is named INDIA, would they change the name of the country?” asked Kejriwal. “The country belongs to 140 crore people, not to a party. Let’s assume if the India alliance renames itself as Bharat, would they rename Bharat as BJP then? What’s this joke? BJP is thinking that their vote count will decrease so they should change the name of Bharat.”

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee asked why suddenly the country should be called only Bharat.

“I heard that India’s name is being changed,” Banerjee said, according to PTI. “The G20 invite that went out in the name of the honourable president has Bharat written on it. We call the country Bharat, what is new in this? In English, we say India... There’s nothing new to be done. The world knows us as India.”

Nationalist Congress Party president Sharad Pawar said that noone has the right to change the country’s name. “I don’t understand why the ruling party is perturbed over a name related to the country,” Pawar added, reported PTI.

Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav pointed out that several of the government’s flagship schemes are named after India, according to Hindustan Times.

“Vote for India, Make in India, Standup India, Shining India..there is mention of India on Aadhaar and passport...” he said. “If they have a problem with ‘India’ then they should have a problem with ‘Bharat’ also...These [BJP] people are scared.”

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