Amid heated controversies following the removal of Mahatma Gandhi’s picture from the Khadi Village Industries Commission (KVIC) calendar and diary, replacing it with the picture of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, has, today, slammed the Prime Minister, all over again. Criticizing the KVIC move, the Trinamool Congress (TMC) supremo, who had been at loggerheads with PM Modi since the implementation of the demonetisation policy, questioned that while Mahatma Gandhi is the Father of Nation, what is PM Modi.
“The great symbol of charka and Mahatma Gandhi now gets replaced by Modi babu. In the calendar and diary of Khadi (KVIC) 2017 Modi replaced Mahatma Gandhi ji. Gandhiji is the Father of the Nation. Modi ji what???” tweeted Mamata Banerjee.
In what came as a shock for many, Mahatma Gandhi’s picture weaving khadi on a simple charkha, wearing his trademark cloth has been replaced by Prime Minister Modi’s picture in the same classic pose as that of the former.
While, a section of the KVIC workers staged a protest and sought to know as to why Mahatma Gandhi’s image was removed, Mahatma Gandhi’s great grandson Tushar Gandhi today said that the government’s decision to replace the picture of Father of the Nation was a well-planned strategy to gain credibility.
“This government is very prone in making mistakes, but this doesn’t seem to be a mistake. This seems to be like very thought out and well-planned strategy to gain credibility,” Tushar told ANI.
Emphasizing on the significance of charkha and Mahatma Gandhi’s picture, he said: “The charkha that Bapu used to spin was the instrument for the production, empowerment of weak and poor and a weapon in the fight for our freedom. Bapu’s khadi was the yarn of peace.”
However, sources close to KVIC, stating that the calendar never featured the picture of Father of the Nation, said, ““There was no picture of Mahatma Gandhi on KVIC diary or calendar in the year 1996 , 2002 , 2005 , 2011 , 2012 , 2013 , 2016, so there is no question of replacing his picture with that of Modi,” said sources.
Sources asserted that those igniting the controversy should understand that the sale of khadi was limited to two to seven percent during the 50 years of Congress rule while there can be seen an unprecedented growth of 34 percent in the sales of khadi products during the last two years of Prime Minister Modi-led government.
(With inputs from agencies)