A controversy erupted on Friday over Narendra Modi’s photo appearing on the diary and the calendar of Khadi and Village Industries Corporation (KVIC), with Congress and some others targeting the Prime Minister, whose office termed the row as “unnecessary”.
A section of KVIC has protested the exclusion of Mahatma Gandhi’s photo from the diary and the calendar even though they have no objection to Modi’s picture appearing in these.
“The Mangalayaan effect,” Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi tweeted, implying that Modi was trying to take credit for promotion of KVIC like he had allegedly done after India’s spacecraft Mangalayaan landed on the Mars.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said, “The great symbol of ‘charka’ (wheel) and Mahatma Gandhi now gets replaced by Modi babu. In the calendar and diary of Khadi (KVIC) 2017, Modi replaced Mahatma Gandhiji. Gandhiji is the Father of the Nation. Modiji what?”
The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said the controversy was “unnecessary” as “there is no rule in KVIC that it’s diary and calendar should have only Gandhiji’s photo.” PMO sources said in the past also, there was no picture of Mahatma Gandhi on such KVIC material.
Defending the move of Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) to publish Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s photo on its 2017 calendar and table diary, KVIC chairman V K Saxena said there is “no rule or tradition” that only Mahatma Gandhi’s picture can be published on these items.
Responding to allegations that KVIC is trying to “replace” Mahatma Gandhi with Modi through such acts, Saxena claimed the PM’s appeal actually helped in boosting the sale of Khadi and eventually helped lakhs of Khadi weavers.
“I want to first ask whether anyone can replace Gandhiji? Is Gandhiji’s stature so small that he can be replaced so easily ?” Saxena said.
“There is no such rule or tradition that we can publish only Gandhiji’s photo on our calendar or on the cover of diary. His (Gandhiji’s) photo was not there in 2002, 2005, 2011, 2013 and 2016,” the KVIC chairman added.