Union minister Venkaiah Naidu on Monday said that ministers and MPs being asked to make their speeches in Hindi was only a recommendation and not a mandatory rule. His statement came two days after Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam chief MK Stalin criticised the Centre for trying to “impose” Hindi on citizens.

“It is totally false and mischievous to allege that an Ordinance was passed in this regard,” Naidu told reporters on Monday. On April 17, President Pranab Mukherjee had approved the recommendations of the Parliamentary Committee on Official Languages asking all dignitaries, including ministers, to make speeches in Hindi if they are familiar with the language.

In a video posted on Twitter on Saturday, Stalin had accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of destroying and decimating the unity of the nation. “It is very concerning that this is not an exception,” he had said, adding that by making Hindi mandatory in schools and Parliament, the Bharatiya Janata Party government was “betraying all non-Hindi speakers” in the country.

Stalin had also alleged that the Centre had violated the Indian Constitution with this rule. “According to schedule 8 of the Constitution of India, all languages. including Tamil, should be announced as official languages,” he had said.

The parliamentary committee had also suggested that Hindi be incorporated on Air India tickets, and magazines and newspapers in the language be made available on board the airline’s flights. Mukherjee had also granted his in-principle approval to make Hindi a compulsory subject from Class 8 to Class 10 in all CBSE and Kendriya Vidyalya schools, subject to the respective state’s acceptance.