After a furore over a scheme to charge Rs 5 to every entrant at a Modi rally in Andhra Pradesh to donate to the victims of the Uttarakhand floods, BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman defended the move.
Taking to Twitter to defend the move by the Andhra Pradesh state unit of the BJP to seek a Rs 5 donation from everyone attending a rally being addressed by Modi, Sitharaman questioned whether such an initiative is unheard of in Indian politics:
According to the organisers, around 40,000 people have already registered for the rally and they are hoping that the number would rise to at least 70,000, which by estimates could bring in around Rs 3.5 lakh.
However, what Sitharaman may not have expected was a tweet from journalist and author Namita Bhandare who claimed her grandfather had been asked to donate one rupee to get Gandhiji's autograph. And the request for the rupee had come from the great man himself.
@nsitharaman As a young boy my dad asked Gandhiji for an autograph, Gandhiji said he would gladly sign if my father paid him one rupee.
— Namita Bhandare (@namitabhandare)
The Congress hasn't responded to Sitharaman's tweets but had targeted the Gujarat Chief Minister earlier today, with Information and Broadcasting Minister mocking the amount charged to see Modi at the rally.
“Baba Pravachan Ticket Rs 100-100,000 Cinema ticket Rs 200-500 even for box office flop Ticket to hear’a’ CM Rs 5 Market discovers true value,” Manish Tewari tweeted.
Tewari also commented on Modi’s ‘fascist’ nature asking what amount of tax would be imposed on the people for listening to Modi.
“BJP’s listening Tax Rs 5maybe market discovery price What would be speaking Tax imposed on 1.2 billion? Monitising democracy/ pure fascism!”