Gujarat Congress cornered over ad campaign

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Ahmedabad
  • |
  • Updated: Nov 26, 2012 11:19 IST

In the midst of electioneering for the assembly polls in Gujarat, main opposition party Congress faced an embarrassing situation when it was found that in its advertisement on malnutrition in the state, the party used a picture of a Sri Lankan child.

It has been alleged that the picture was lifted from a Christian organisation which depicted a malnourished child from Sri Lanka.

According to the details, the skinny and malnourished child was a victim of flood in the neighbouring country and a Christian organisation, Amyand Park Chapel, had posted this picture on its website www.amyand.com from where the Congress allegedly lifted the picture to be used in its advertisement campaign Join Hands for Change.

As soon as the local media reported it, the ruling party BJP quickly siezed on the opportunity to corner the opposition party saying, "The Opposition party is indulging in spreading lies about the Narendra Modi government in the state."

"It's a lie that has been exposed. The ad issued by the Congress has hurt the sentiments of the people of the state," Gujarat BJP leader Bharat Pandya said.

However, the Opposition party defended its ad saying that picture was meant for symbolic value.

"As per the government figures, around 45% children in Gujarat are malnourished and our advertisement highlights this ugly reality of Gujarat which bellies the tall claims of development by chief minister Narendra Modi," Gujarat Congress spokesperson Manish Doshi said.

Meanwhile, this is the second time the opposition party has committed such gaffe regarding an advertisement campaign. Earlier this year, the Opposition party's advertisement had ended up praising chief minister Narendra Modi describing him as "master organizer and astute election strategist!"

The advertisement was issued in a special supplement inserted with Gujarati dailies in the Republic Day issue this year.

However, even the ruling party is also on the same ground with regards to "lifting picture to suit its advertisement."

The advertisement, sponsored by the Gujarat government, and published in newspapers in Patna ahead of Narendra Modi’s rally, had shown burqa-clad girls which it claimed were from Gujarat.

However, it turned out that the girls featured in the Modi government ad were students of a school in Uttar Pradesh’s Azamgarh district and not Gujarat. The picture was taken without permission from a US-based website, twocircles.com, run by Indian Muslims.

 

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