BJP questions Opposition’s reaction to G20 dinner invitations referring to President as “President of Bharat”

The BJP on Tuesday questioned the Opposition’s reaction to G20 dinner invitations sent out by the Rashtrapati Bhavan in which the President has been referred to as “President of Bharat”, asking if it had a problem with the word “Bharat”. Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma even wrote on X, “REPUBLIC OF BHARAT — happy and proud that our civilisation is marching ahead boldly towards AMRIT KAAL.”

BJP-led Union government’s stance on the name of the country

Back in 2015, the BJP-led Union government told the Supreme Court that the country does not have to be called Bharat instead of India. Responding to a public interest litigation (PIL) plea that sought the Republic be called Bharat for official and unofficial purposes by the Union and state governments, the Narendra Modi government claimed “there is no change in circumstances to consider any change in Article 1 of the Constitution of India.” Article 1.1 — the sole provision in the Constitution on how the country’s name for official and unofficial purposes — states, “India, that is Bharat, shall be a Union of States.”

Union Ministry of Home Affairs’ response to the PIL

The Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) told the court that issues regarding the country’s name were deliberated upon extensively by the Constituent Assembly when the Constitution was drafted and clauses in Article 1 were adopted unanimously. It also pointed out that Bharat did not figure in the original draft of the Constitution and it was during debates that the Constituent Assembly considered names and formulations such as Bharat, Bharatbhumi, Bharatvarsh, India that is Bharat, and Bharat that is India. It said there was no change in circumstances since the Constituent Assembly debated the issue to warrant a review.

Representation by Ajay G Majithia and previous PIL

The MHA said a representation by Ajay G Majithia, the lawyer of social activist Niranjan Bhatwal who filed the PIL, had been examined and recommended its dismissal. Majithia had argued that Article 1.1 must be interpreted keeping in view the Constituent Assembly’s intention, “which wanted to name the country Bharat”. The plea said the name India was coined during the colonial era and the country, historically and in scriptures, is called Bharat. “India was used in Article 1 for reference, in order to repeal Government of India Act, 1935, and Indian Independence Act, 1947,” the petitioner reasoned.

Another such PIL came up before the court in 2020 but then Chief Justice of India S A Bobde said the Supreme Court cannot do it and allowed the petitioner to make a representation to the government.


  • The BJP questions the Opposition’s reaction to G20 dinner invitations referring to the President as “President of Bharat”.
  • The BJP-led Union government stated in 2015 that the country does not have to be called Bharat instead of India.
  • The Union Ministry of Home Affairs defended the use of the name India and stated that there is no need for a review.
  • A representation by Ajay G Majithia argued that the country should be named Bharat based on the Constituent Assembly’s intention.
  • Previous PILs on the matter have not been successful in changing the country’s name.

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