It will be unfortunate if celebrations for India’s 75th anniversary of Independence become a burden on the poor, said BJP MP Varun Gandhi on Wednesday. Often critical of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led central government, the MP took to Twitter and posted a video of ration card holders saying they were being forced to pay Rs 20 to buy the national flag.
Taking a veiled dig at the Centre, Gandhi said it was “shameful” to extract the price of the ‘tiranga’ that lives in the heart of every Indian, by taking away the poor’s morsel. He further said ration card holders were being forced to buy the Tricolour or denied a share of grains they were entitled to.
He tweeted in Hindi: “It would be unfortunate if the celebration of the 75th anniversary of independence becomes a burden on the poor. Ration card holders are being forced to buy the tricolor or their share of ration is being deducted instead. It is shameful to collect the price of the tricolor which resides in the heart of every Indian by snatching the morsel of the poor.”
आजादी की 75वीं वर्षगाँठ का उत्सव गरीबों पर ही बोझ बन जाए तो दुर्भाग्यपूर्ण होगा।
राशनकार्ड धारकों को या तिरंगा खरीदने पर मजबूर किया जा रहा है या उसके बदले उनके हिस्से का राशन काटा जा रहा है।
हर भारतीय के हृदय में बसने वाले तिरंगे की कीमत गरीब का निवाला छीन कर वसूलना शर्मनाक है। pic.twitter.com/pYKZCfGaCV
— Varun Gandhi (@varungandhi80) August 10, 2022
The Centre has urged people to hoist or display the national flag at their home from August 13 to 15 as part of the initiative, with the saffron party running a campaign to make Modi’s call a success.
In the video that has gone viral, a television reporter whose channel’s name has been hidden, is talking to people in Haryana’s Karnal. They are heard complaining about being forced to pay Rs 20 to buy the Tricolour while collecting ration from a state-run depot.
A man in the video, who appears to be a staff member at the depot, is saying they have received orders to ask ration card holders to buy the flag for Rs 20 and display it in their homes. “We have been told not to give ration to those who refuse to buy the flag. We are only doing as we’ve been ordered,” he added.
Deputy commissioner Anish Yadav said the owner of the depot had been suspended for “misleading” people. The action was taken after the video went viral. Yadav said the flags were being sold at ration depots as a matter of convenience and if people face any issues, they must address their grievances to the administration.
The MP from Pilibhit in Uttar Pradesh has criticised the government led by his own party over a host of issues in the past. He has also criticised the Centre’s move to scrap senior citizen concession in train travel, GST on packaged food items and the armed forces recruitment scheme ‘Agnipath’.
This was another such instance where the MP was targeting the Centre over its ‘Har Ghar Tiranga’ initiative, which is part of the Prime Modi’s flagship programme ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’ to mark 75 years of the country’s freedom from British rule.
Earlier this month, too, Modi had also urged people to display the national flag as their profile pictures on social media to mark the launch of ‘Har Ghar Tiranga’ campaign.
(With PTI inputs)