Modi better brand than Mahatma, Gandhi to be removed from notes: Haryana minister Anil Vij

As if Prime Minister Narendra Modi's photo in the calendar and the diary of Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) could not cause more controversy, Haryana Minister Anil Vij added fuel to the fire by blaming Mahatma Gandhi for the decline in demand for khadi and even said that Gandhi's face on Indian currency notes was also responsible for its devaluation.

"Ever since khadi became linked with Gandhi's name, khadi (industry) has not been able to rise and it has been on a decline," said BJP leader Anil Vij.

"Gandhi has such a name that since the day his picture was printed on the currency notes, the currency's devaluation began," Vij further said. The Haryana minister even said that Gandhi's image will be eventually removed from the currency notes too.

"It is good that Modi's photo replaced that of Gandhi in the calendar. Modi has a better brand name than Gandhi," Vij said.

Vij's foot-in-mouth remarks come after Modi's image replaced that of the father of the nation Mahatma Gandhi from the 2017 wall calendar and table diary published by the KVIC. Most employees and officials were taken aback to see the cover photo of the calendar and diary showing Modi weaving khadi on a large charkha, in the same classic pose as Gandhi.

“We are pained at this systematic easing out of Mahatma Gandhi’s ideas, philosophy and ideals by the government. Last year, the first attempt was made by including the PM’s photos in the calendar,” a senior KVIC staffer had told IANS, requesting anonymity amid fear of official reprisals.

Reacting to Vij's remarks, BJP leader Jawahar Yadav, trying to control the damage, told CNN-News18, "This is his personal opinion. It is not the stand of the party. Gandhi's principles are enshrined in the constitution of the BJP."

Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar also said that the views expressed were personal and had "nothing to do with the party".

Another BJP leader Shrikant Sharma said the party "strongly condemns Vij's statement.

But the outrage over Anil Vij's statements has already begun. Congress leader Priyanka Chaturvedi said, "It's an extremely shameful comment and it also reflects what the BJP has been all about. The thinking of the BJP is similar to that of Nathuram Godse."

Another Congress leader Randeep Surjewala said "such kind of objectionable and nonsensical statements from BJP's leaders and ministers" were expected.

Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad Yadav expressed his anger in his own way.

And the outrage on social media has also begun. Currently, 'Anil Vij' is the top trend on Twitter in India.

With inputs from IANS

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Updated Date: Jan 14, 2017 14:30:29 IST