Reacting sharply to the Khadi Village Industries Commission (KVIC) calendar row, the Aam Aadmi Party today said it “won’t be surprising” if Mahatma Gandhi’s image is replaced by that of Narendra Modi “on currency notes”.
AAP leader Dilip Pandey targeted Prime Minister Modi over the issue saying the move only bolsters his “megalomaniac image”.
“It won’t be surprising if Gandhi’s image is replaced with that of Modi’s on currency notes. The whole thing actually demeans and brings down the stature of a prime minister. It does not behove his post. He has reduced himself to a megalomaniac,” Pandey told reporters.
Employees and officials of KVIC have opposed the move to exclude the image of Mahatma Gandhi from the cover of its 2017 wall calendar and diary that show Modi weaving khadi on a large charkha, in the same classic pose as Gandhiji’s.
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had yesterday attacked the Prime Minister over the issue.
“It takes sacrifices of several lifetimes to become a Gandhi. You don’t become Gandhi by acting to spin the wheel, you may become a subject of ridicule,” he had tweeted in Hindi.
Taking a jibe at the Prime Minister, Singhvi said “Modiji first likened himself to Sardar Patel, now he considers himself to be Gandhiji. Because he (Modi) has criticized this one person, Modiji has not likened himself to him. That is Nehru ji”.
The Congress spokesman also hit out at Modi for removing HRD Ministry from the ambit of an Information Commissioner for passing an order under RTI for making public records of Delhi University from a particular year in which Modi had obtained a degree.
“An obsession bordering on narcissism has unfortunately become the hallmark of the Prime Minister. Our Prime Minister can’t accept any form of criticism. Constructive or otherwise”, he said.
He was of the view that what is happening in the country today is symptomatic of several islls.
“These ills are the politics of vendetta, of fear psychosis, punishment to those who disagree with you and self obsession. And if this is not curbed, then this can be fatal to our democracy,” Singhvi added.
Tyagi said, “Whatever has happened is condemnable. We will ask the Prime Minister to remove Saxena for this shameful decision and ensure that all calendars and diaries are withdrawn.”
BJP spokesaman Sambit Patra said an “unnecessary controversy” has been created over a “non-issue”
Addressing a press conference, he rejected as “false” the charge that Modi’s picture replaced that of Mahatma Gandhi in KVIC calendar, insisting that the Father of the Nation’s photo had not been used many a time in the past.
He said Gandhi’s photographs were not used in the KVIC calendars and diaries in 1996, 2002, 2005, 2011, 2012 and 2013.
There is no rule in KVIC that says only Gandhi’s photograph should be used, he said.
Targeting Congress and Gandhi ruling family, he said their love for the Father of the Nation’s picture was confined to the currency notes carrying his photo and that they “misused” his name for political purpose for all these years.
“The Prime Minister promoted Gandhi’s philosophies and these are reaching every household… There is one party which ruled for years in Gandhi’s name. They keep calling themselves Gandhis though they had no link with Mahatma Gandhi,” he said.
The sale of khadi through KVIC, a government body tasked with its promotion, was merely 2 to 7 per cent all these years but Modi’s efforts took it over 35 per cent, he said.
Modi has been promoting the values Gandhi stood for whether it is ‘swachhta’ or khadi, Patra said.