Modi bigger brand than Gandhi, says Haryana Minister Anil Vij

Rupee devalued because of Mahatma Gandhi’s image on currency notes, says Haryana BJP minister Anil Vij, before saying it’s his personal opinion and not of the party or Government

Photo by Keshav Singh/Hindustan Times via Getty Images
Photo by Keshav Singh/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

NH Political Bureau

MLA from Ambala and Haryana cabinet minister Anil Vij on Saturday caused a furore by defending the decision of Khadi Village Industries Commission (KVIC) to carry a photograph of the Prime Minister in place of Mahatma Gandhi. “Narendra Modi is a bigger brand name than Mahatma Gandhi,” he told newsmen.

Jab se khadi ke saath Gandhi ka naam juda hai, khadi uth hi nahi saki. Khadi doob gayi (From the time Gandhi’s name has been associated with Khadi, the industry has never been able to stand up. Khadi has drowned),” Vij had said.

Gandhi ka aisa naam hai ki jis din se note pe chhapi hai tasveer us din se note ki devaluation ho gayi (Gandhi’s name is such that from the day his photo started appearing on currency notes, the note has devalued),” Vij told newsmen.

“It’s a good thing that the Khadi udyog has replaced Gandhi with Modi. Modi is a better brand name and after his association with khadi, there has been a 14% increase in sale of its products,” Vij declared echoing the PMO’s view that earlier sale of Khadi products grew at 2% per annum but has surged to 34% because of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s special efforts to promote them.

The insult of the Father of the Nation predictably caused outrage and did not go down well with people. The Mahatma’s great grandson Tushar Gandhi sarcastically told agencies, “The way corrupt politicians use money for ill-practices, it will be good if Bapu is removed from the notes”. He alleged that it was a “well orchestrated” campaign from the “high command” and the minister was speaking the language of RSS.

Congress slams Vij’s comments on Mahatma Gandhi

The Congress said that the BJP was trying to erase even Mahatma Gandhi’s memory from the country. “Mahatma Gandhi is the soul of India... Modiji, Anil Vij and BJP must remember that you can kill Mahatma Gandhi, you can remove his photograph, you can abuse him but Gandhi has always lived in the soul of India,” said Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala.

BJP distances itself from Vij’s statement

The BJP was quick to dissociate itself with Vij’s remarks. “We condemn Vij’s remarks; it’s his personal view. It is not the party’s stand,” BJP National Secretary Shrikant Sharma told National Herald.

Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar too made a similar statement. “As far as the statement is concerned, Anil Vij is our senior Minister and makes statement with due care, but still what one says in his personal capacity, it is not linked with the party,” Khattar said when asked about Vij's remarks at a press conference.

However, the BJP does not see anything wrong in KVIC replacing Mahatma Gandhi with PM Modi with Sharma saying that change was made “according to rules.” Now, that says something.

With agency inputs.

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Published: 14 Jan 2017, 7:12 PM