India, Politics

Gandhi will disappear from notes as well, says Anil Vij; BJP condemns the remark

The Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) attracted huge controversy after PM Narendra Modi’s picture replaces Mahatma Gandhi’s from the agency’s calendar and diaries. The development prompts huge protests from a section of people. And now a BJP MP from Haryana has fuelled the controversy even further by saying that Mahatma Gandhi will be gradually removed from the currency notes as well.

As per a report in an Aaj Tak, Vij said, it is a good decision to make PM Modi Khadi’s brand image. Gandhi has no patent on Khadi. There is a 14 per cent of increase in sales of Khadi after Modi’s picture was used. Thus, it is a good decision.

He also added that the value of notes dropped because of Gandhi’s picture was used in it. When asked why then Gandhi’s picture was printed on the new notes, Vij said, it will be removed from there as well.

However, BJP quickly responded on the controversy and condemned the remark saying, “it’s his personal remark and not party’s stand. Mahatma Gandhi is our icon.”

Reportedly, employees of KVIC staged “a silent soul-cleansing” on Thursday at its Mumbai headquarters. They prayed before Gandhi’s statue, and later staged a protest wearing black bands on their mouths. Notably, PM Modi can be seen weaving khadi on a charkha, which is reminiscent of Gandhi’s well-known pose, in this year’s calendar and diary.

KVIC chairman Vinai Kumar Saxena on this entire controversy said, this was not the first time Gandhi’s picture was not on the calendar and diaries. Last year, along with in 2013 and 2005, Gandhi’s image was missing.

“It is not compulsory and there is no rule (on having Gandhi’s image). Gandhiji has been the biggest brand ambassador for khadi and will always remain so. The entire khadi sector owes its existence to Gandhiji’s philosophy and ideas and there is no question of ignoring him,” Saxena told TOI over the phone.

He also said that only a few staff, who was union members, had protested.

However, KVIC staff isn’t convinced. “We are pained at this systematic easing out of Mahatma Gandhi’s ideas, philosophy and ideals by the government. Last year, the first minor attempt was made by including the PM’s photos in the calendar,” said a senior KVIC staffer as per a report.

According to Saxena, the PM was also making a vast contribution to promote khadi. Its sales had shot up too. PM Modi had made many references to khadi in his radio address. Apart from that several other steps had been initiated at his directive.

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