Indians disgruntled after Modi replaces Gandhi in state-issued calendar

Samuel SharpJan 14, 2017

Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi took a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi over Khadi Village Industries Commission (KVIC) replacing Mahatma Gandhi's image with that of PM in its wall calendar and table diary for 2017.

BJP, however, defended themselves on the issue, saying that there is no writ of printing only Mahatma Gandhi's image on the khadi calendar cover. Whereas, the calendars have always featured Gandhi ji since generations as he founded the Khadi movement in 1920s aiming to boycott foreign goods. "Because of the appeal made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his efforts at promoting Khadi, sales have gone up by 34% in 2015-16", KVIC said in a statement.

In its 2017 edition of the annual calendar and diary, the cover photo shows PM Modi weaving "Khadi" on a "Charkha", identical to the famous pose of Gandhiji.

Staff at the government's Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) are reported to have staged a "a silent soul-cleansing" at the Mumbai headquarters.

KVIC Chairman Vinai Kumar Saxena said this was "not unusual" and there have been deviations in the past.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said, "The great symbol of "charka" (wheel) and Mahatma Gandhi now gets replaced by Modi babu". Shiv Sena accused the Modi government of entering into a sacrosanct territory by excluding Gandhi from the khadi campaign.

Mahatma Gandhi's great-grandson Tushar Gandhi said, "Bapu's charkha was the source of income for the poor people". "It is not compulsory and there is no rule [on having Gandhi's image]", he said.

Opposition parties, including the Congress, the Left, Trinamool Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party, slammed the change, asserting the "Father of the Nation" is "irreplaceable".

The government-run Khadi KVIC defended its decision to use a photo of Modi, sitting in an nearly identical pose while spinning cotton, on the cover of its 2017 calendar and diary.

The opposition leaders have sharply criticized the move.

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