Row over PM photo on khadi panel calendar

Row over PM photo on khadi panel calendar

Modi replacing Gandhi outrages Opposition

Row over PM photo on khadi panel calendar

The government swung into damage-control mode on Friday as a controversy erupted over Prime Minister Narendra Modi “replacing” Mahatma Gandhi on the calendars and diaries issued by the Khadi Village Industries Commission (KVIC).

While the Opposition expressed outrage over the calendars and diaries featuring Modi, the KVIC aggressively defended its decision. “The prime minister and his picture on our calendars and diaries show commitment to khadi at the highest level in the government,” KVIC chairman V K Saxena told DH.

Kalraj Mishra, Union Minister for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, the nodal ministry for KVIC, emphasised that Modi had not replaced Gandhi and that his picture appeared only on one page of the calendar.

“Gandhiji has his own place...nobody can take it,” Mishra told reporters, as the Opposition leaders had a field day attacking the prime minister for his “obsession with himself bordering on narcissism”.

“The Mangalyaan effect,” said Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi, accusing Modi of trying to take credit for the promotion of khadi.

Rahul had earlier criticised Modi for trying to “appropriate credit for the landing of Mangalyaan on Mars”, a mission launched by the Congress-led UPA government.

“A self-projection obsession, a self-love obsession and obsession bordering on narcissism has unfortunately become the hallmark of the honourable prime minister,” Congress spokesman Abhishek Manu Singhvi said.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his West Bengal counterpart Mamata Banerjee reacted sharply on Twitter.

“Becoming Gandhi requires years of austerity. One cannot become Gandhi by acting to spin the charkha; this would only ridicule them,” Kejriwal tweeted.

“Gandhiji is the Father of the Nation. Modi ji what???” wondered Banerjee on Twitter.
Mahatma Gandhi’s great-grandson Tushar Gandhi lamented that “Bapu’s charkha was the source of income for the poor people. Now it has become a photo prop.”

Saxena said there were several instances when Gandhi’s picture was not featured on KVIC material. “In 1996, 2002, 2005, 2011, 2013 and 2016, Gandhiji was not there on the calendar and diary. There is no rule that only Gandhi’s picture has to be on the calendar,” he said.

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