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2-min read

Budget 2019 Invokes Mahatma Gandhi with 'Gandhipedia', Netizens Remain in Doubt

In her Budget speech, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced that the government was working on a "Gandhipedia", a repository of information about the life and works of Mahatma Gandhi.

News18.com

Updated:July 5, 2019, 1:42 PM IST
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Budget 2019 Invokes Mahatma Gandhi with 'Gandhipedia', Netizens Remain in Doubt
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In its second Union budget, the Narendra Modi-led government seems to have left no stones unturned in wooing the people of India, be it the call for women empowerment through "Nari tu Narayani" or the promise to elevate India out of its water crisis by 2024 under "Har Ghar Pani". While these promises were somewhat within the ambit o expectations, many were bowled over by an unexpected addition to the Budget 2019: Gandhipedia.

In her Budget speech, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced that the government was working on a "Gandhipedia", a repository of information about the life and works of Mahatma Gandhi. The repository would be accessible to all and will serve the purpose of educating and sensitising the youth about Gandhi.

Sitharam further added that by Oct 2, the 150th birth anniversary of Gandhi, that by Oct 2, 2020, every city will be ODF (Open-defecation free).

The minister also said that a "Swachchata Kendra" will be built at Raj Ghat.

The announcements seem to come as part of the BJP's Mahatma Gandhi outreach, which had already been in the works ever since the 2018 Budget allocated Rs 150 cr to celebrate Gandhi's 150th birth anniversary year. Just on Thursday, BJP president Amit Shah said in Ahmedabad that party workers would take out 'padyatras' across the country to spread the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi as part of the 150th birth anniversary celebrations of the Father of the Nation.

Shah, also the Union home minister, said an official announcement about the initiative will be made by the party in coming days.

The effort to push for a symbolic connection to Gandhi was not missed by netizens, many of whom referred to it as "appropriation" of Gandhi by the saffron party.

One of the strongest criticisms came from Congress Party's Karnataka unit's Twitter handle which called the move hypocritic in light of BJP's Madhya Pradesh MP Pragya Thakur's comments against Gandhi.

This is not the first time that "Gandhipedia" has been mentioned by the BJP government. In fact, the portal was announced back in September last year prior to the beginning of the two-years-long birthday celebrations on Gandhi's 150 birth year.

Recently, BJP's newly elected Bhopal MP Sadhvi Pragya Thakur drew national ire after she tagged Gandhi an "antinational" and and lauded his assassin Nathuram Godse. The comment, coming as it did during the Model Code of Conduct prior to the polls, earned Pragya a "maun vrat" and she was even reprimanded by PM Modi himself.

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