The Maharashtra government is planning to ban the book, Great Soul: Mahatma Gandhi and His Struggle With India, by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Joseph Lelyveld after it created a furore in the legislature on Tuesday.

The book reportedly alleges that the Mahatma was a bisexual and a racist.

After Congress members voiced strong objections in the Council, Industries Minister Narayan Rane, referring to the book's claims, said: “Such remarks against Gandhiji would not be tolerated. He was the Father of the Nation. The government will take steps to ban the publishing of the book in the State. The State would write to the Centre to that effect.”

Congress MLC and Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee president Manikrao Thakre said the book maligned the Mahatma.

Condemning the book, MLA Krishna Hegde said the biography was “the figment of a sick mind's imagination.”

Ignoble fashion

“It has become a fashion to tarnish the image of great Indian leaders for self publicity and sale of books. The government should evoke a law to severely punish anyone who tarnishes the image of the Father of the Nation as in England where no one can speak against the Queen,” Mr. Hegde said.

In the suburb of Mulund, Congress workers burnt Mr. Lelyveld's posters “for writing derogatory remarks about the great Mahatma's sexual orientation,” said Congress member Rajesh Ingle.

He called for a worldwide ban of the book and warned “the author should not dare enter India as Congress workers will not spare him for his misdeed.”

PTI reports from Ahmedabad:

Take legal action: Modi

Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday demanded that the Centre take legal action to stop the publication of the book.

“I strongly condemn the contents of a new book on Mahatma Gandhi in which there is perversion of views. Gandhiji had preached to the world truth and non-violence and to write about him in such a manner is in very bad taste,” he said.

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