Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s maiden visit to the tribal heartland of Madhya Pradesh was caught in a controversy on Monday after a goof-up in a full-page advertisement published in major Hindi dailies by followers of a local BJP leader.
The advertisement by the Sanstha Saadgi Kapil Chaudhary Mitra Mandal on the occasion of former Indore legislator Jitu Jirati’s birthday described Modi’s visit to Bhabhara as a celebration of “Adivasi Unmoolan Diwas” or “Tribal Eradication Day” and not the World Tribal Day.
The advertisement carried the photographs of Modi, chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, BJP president Amit Shah, senior party leader Kailash Vijavargiya and Jirati.
Jirati remained incommunicado on Monday and his mobile phones were switched off.
On the other hand, local BJP leaders are now caught in a desperate face-saving exercise as Modi is set to visit Alirajpur on Tuesday to celebrate the World Tribal Day.
“I spoke to the people who inserted the advertisement in the newspapers. They claimed it was a mistake of proofreading, and the word Unnayan got replaced with Unmoolan,” local BJP spokesperson Alok Dubey told Hindustan Times.
Sachin Jain, a social worker, said the tribals will soon draw a connection to the attacks on Dalits in some of the BJP-led states.
“It may be a mistake, but it is a matter of serious concern because it gives a message that tribal society might be facing a planned threat,” Jain said.
“Moreover, how can you write wrong Hindi in India’s Hindi-heartland?” Jain said.
Modi will also pay his respects to revolutionary freedom fighter Chandra Shekhar Azad, who was born in Alirajpur district’s Bhabhara village in 1906, by launching “Yaad Karo Kurbani,” a nation-wide campaign to commemorate the valour of freedom fighters.