Mahatma Gandhi Has Been Left Out of Khadi Calendar 5 Times: KVIC Chief
A TV grab of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the Khadi calendar .
New Delhi: Amid the growing criticism surrounding the missing picture of Mahatma Gandhi from the 2017 calendar and diary of the Khadi Village Industries Commission, chairman Vinay Kumar Saxena told CNN-News18 that Bapu was not on the cover of the calender for several years prior to 2017.
"Gandhiji was not on the cover in 1996, 2002, 2005, 2011, 2013, 2016. While few of the calendars and diaries were blank, few of them had pictures of women working on khadi chakra. How can anyone replace father of the nation?" Saxena said.
"The PM and the picture show commitment to khadi at the highest level in the government. Because of the appeal made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his efforts at promoting Khadi, sales have gone up by 34% in 2016," Saxena added.
Meanwhile, the BJP government on Friday sought to downplay a controversy over Prime Minister Narendra Modi "replacing" Mahatma Gandhi on the 2017 calendar and diary of the Khadi Village Industries Commission (KVIC), saying that the 'Father of the Nation' is "irreplaceable".
Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi and AAP supremo and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal took pot shots at Modi over the issue.
IANS on Thursday reported about Modi's picture donning the cover page of the KVIC calendar and dairy instead of the iconic picture of Gandhi weaving khadi on a simple charkha, wearing his trademark loin cloth.
"It is not that Modi has replaced Gandhi. The pages of the calendar are month wise and in just one page Modi's photo is there," said Union Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Minister Kalraj, while admitting that he is yet to see the calendar.
"Gandhiji has his own place, nobody can take it," he told reporters.
Asked if they would try to replace Modi's picture with that of Gandhi, Mishra said: "I haven't seen it (calender). Once I see we will do whatever necessary. Nobody can take it," Mishra told reporters.
On Thursday, a section of its workers staged a protest, and sought to know as to why the image of the father of the nation was left out, while featuring Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
In a brief protest, dozens of workers associated with KVIC who gathered at Suburban Vile-Parle, said they were raising the issue since Gandhi had been the driving force behind the Khadi movement.
"We are not against inclusion of Modiji's picture on the dairies and calendars, but pained not to find Gandhiji's picture. We simply want to know why Gandhiji has not been given the space here ? Is Gandhi ji no more relavant for Khadi industry ?" said one of them.
The protestors also demanded reprinting of the calendars with Gandhi's picture being featured on them.
(With agency inputs)