Modi mocked for imitating Gandhi’s pose

PM invites wrath for his photo on KVIC calendar

January 13, 2017 06:16 pm | Updated January 14, 2017 12:00 am IST - New Delhi

A Nationalist Congress Party supporter holds photographs of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Mahatma Gandhi during a protest near Mantralaya in Mumbai on Friday.

A Nationalist Congress Party supporter holds photographs of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Mahatma Gandhi during a protest near Mantralaya in Mumbai on Friday.

Opposition parties, including the Congress, the Trinamool Congress (TMC), the Janata Dal-United (JD-U), the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M), slammed and mocked Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday, asking him whether he thought he could replace the Father of the Nation.

This comes in the wake of the Prime Minister’s photograph appearing in this year’s Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) calendar and diary, seated in the iconic pose associated with Mahatma Gandhi spinning khadi on the charkha.

These parties also took the Modi government to task for defending the photograph: if an official press release said that in the past too, there have been years in which Gandhi’s photograph has not appeared in the KVIC calendar, KVIC chairman V.K. Saxena said there is “no rule or tradition” that only Mahatma Gandhi's picture can be published on these items.

Gandhi can’t be replaced

Responding to these comments, Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi pointed out that while that might be true, with pictures just of the charkha or ordinary people occasionally gracing KVIC calendars, “Gandhi’s photo had never in the past been replaced by a photo of the Prime Minister or President of the day.”

Pointing out that “Gandhiji is too great to be replaced by any one,” he pointed out the irony of “a former RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) pracharak” replacing Gandhi on the KVIC calendar, given that it was “RSS ideology that had killed the Father of the Nation”.

“Modiji first likened himself to Sardar Patel, now he considers himself to be Gandhiji. Because he (Modi) has criticised this one person, Modiji has not likened himself to him — that is Nehruji”.

“The Mangalayaan effect,” Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi tweeted, a reference to Mr. Modi seeking to take credit for the promotion of khadi just as he had done after India’s spacecraft Mangalayaan landed on Mars.

Opposition hits out

TMC chief and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee also plunged in, tweeting, “The great symbol of 'charkha' (wheel) and Mahatma Gandhi now gets replaced by Modi Babu. In the calendar … of Khadi (KVIC) 2017, Modi replaced Mahatma Gandhiji. Gandhiji is the Father of the Nation. Modiji what???”

JD(U) spokesperson K.C. Tyagi, too, commented on the issue, stressing it was a “big shame” that Gandhi’s picture has been removed from the KVIC calendar in a year when the country was celebrating the centenary anniversary of his first Satyagraha movement in Champaran in Bihar. He demanded that the KVIC chairman should be sacked for the “tuglakhi” decision.

‘Stature of PM’

Aam Aadmi Party leader Dilip Pandey said, “It won't be surprising if Gandhi’s image is replaced with that of Modi’s on currency notes. The whole thing… brings down the stature of a prime minister... He has reduced himself to a megalomaniac.”

CPI-M general secretary Sitaram Yechury tweeted, “As we enter the 70th year of the Mahatma's assassination by a fanatic, Modi replaces the Mahatma’s image on a calendar. #SpinningYarns”, while quoting a Tushar Gandhi tweet on someone stealing Gandhi’s charkha. The CPI-M tweeted, “Modi erases #Gandhiji's image!” along with a cartoon.

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