Karnataka government on Monday landed in a controversy over a distorted map of India in an advertisement allegedly published by it in a Malaysian magazine, showing part of Jammu and Kashmir and the North-East missing from it.
The BJP, which pointed out the lapse, sought an explanation from the Congress government.
Speaking to PTI, senior BJP spokesperson and former Karnataka minister Suresh Kumar said it was a very serious matter since it is an issue of sovereignty, which will only "delight" countries who are at loggerheads with India.
"This is a very serious matter which affects the sovereignty of India. Many international forces, including Pakistan and China will take delight in such a lapse," he said.
Kumar said the lapse was "unpardonable" and nobody, specially government, had any right to commit such a grave mistake.
He demanded that the government immediately lodge a complaint with the publisher in Malaysia and ask it to withdraw the controversial advertisement, and also blacklist the agency contracted for the event, in Malaysia.
However, Karnataka tourism minister R V Deshpande said the government was not responsible for the lapse since the advertisements were released by agencies contracted for the event, in Malaysia.
"The ad was released by a Singapore-based company which was given the responsibility of the event, in Malaysia. No way, our government is responsible for the lapse. We did not release the ads," he said.
Countering this, Kumar said since the event is being organised by Karnataka Tourism Department, the government cannot shirk its responsibility.
"The programme is being organised by Karnataka Tourism Department, which is a part of the government. Then, how can the minister shirk its responsibility. No, he cannot," he said.
PATA (Pacific Asia Travel Association) Travel Mart, an annual PATA signature event and a premier travel trade show in the Asia Pacific region, is being held here in September.
PATA is coming to Bengaluru for the first time, and for the third time to India.