Vij retracts remarks on Gandhiji

Mahatma Gandhi's picture weaving Khadi on a simple charkha being replaced by PM Modi's picture in the same classic pose has created an outrage of sorts.

"Ever since Gandhi's name has been on the rupee note, it has devalued", he added.

Vij later retracted his statement. "The thinking of the BJP is similar to that of Nathuram Godse". Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar also said, "It is his personal opinion and has nothing to do with the party". He is in our hearts, our action and we exist as a country together because of the philosophy of a dearest father of nation Mahatma Gandhiji.

Congress leader Randeep Surjewala said: "Khadi and Gandhi ji are symbols of our history, self-reliance and struggle".

KVIC chairman V K Saxena defended the move, saying there is "no rule or tradition" that only Mahatma Gandhi's picture can be published on these items. "The pages of the calendar are month wise and in just one page Modi's photo is there", said Union Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Minister Kalraj, while admitting that he is yet to see the calendar.

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"As far as Gandhiji's photo is concerned, I would say that Gandhiji's name has been used by a particular family in Indian polity in a very political manner".

Tushar Gandhi, Mahatma Gandhi's great-grandson, alleged that it was a "well orchestrated" campaign and the minister was speaking the language of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). The Haryana minister had even said that Gandhi's image will be eventually removed from the currency notes too.

Demanding that a new set of KVIC calendars and diaries be printed with Mahatma Gandhi's photos, NCP Mumbai president Sachin Ahir said: "The NCP strongly condemns this blatant act and demands an apology from the PM".

The opposition Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) demanded withdrawal of the calendar and diary. BJP's national secretary Shrikant Sharma said, "The party does not associate itself with his remarks".

  • Stacy Houston