BJP, RSS trying to taint Nehru: Siddaramaiah over ad row
While the government has maintained stoic silence on the matter, BJP leaders have defended the move.
Congress leader of the opposition and former Karnataka chief minister, Siddaramaiah, on Monday lashed out at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), for “trying to distort history and spreading misinformation on India’s freedom struggle.”
“They (BJP, RSS) don’t know history and are trying to distort it. Did he (Jawaharlal Nehru) not take part in the freedom struggle. Did Eshwarappa go to jail during the freedom struggle or the chief minister (Basavaraj Bommai) or Ravi Kumar (BJP state general secretary)? Removing Nehru’s picture from the freedom fighters’ list is not only an insult to Nehru, but to the entire country, all the freedom fighters and themselves also,” Siddaramaiah said.
Earlier on Sunday, the BJP-led state government had come under sharp criticism for leaving out the picture of India’s first prime minister in an Independence Day advertisement, published in all the leading media newspapers, and including picture of right-wing ideologue Vinayak Damodar Savarkar.
The Congress, the principal opposition party in the state, called the move “petty” and “cheap”
“Prima facie this is a hidden agenda (of the RSS). Did they (BJP) not say that they have left out Nehru’s picture deliberately?Because they did not take part in the freedom struggle. Did RSS or BJP take part in freedom, those in power at the state and Centre, do they have this kind of background or history,” Siddaramaiah said.
The department of information and public relations (DIPR), responsible for the ad, comes under chief minister Basavaraj Bommai and while the government has maintained stoic silence on the matter, BJP leaders have defended the move.
BJP state general secretary Ravi Kumar said that they had deliberately left out Nehru’s picture as he was responsible for the Partition of India.
“The advertisement was decided by the highest body and not us. The ad was proposed on August 8 and then finalised on August 13. The CM has to sign off on it,” an official aware of the developments said, requesting anonymity, HT had reported.
“Is the Congress party so enamoured of its master Nehru that it cannot be recognised? Did the Congress forget Nehru’s face so quickly or is it cleverly blind?,” the BJP wrote on its official twitter ID, highlighting the caricature of Nehru in the advertisement.
Officially, the CMO is yet to explain its stand on the issue.
“There were many people who fought for India’s freedom struggle and not everyone can be listed. There are many names and if we read out these itself, it will be a long one and there was no intention to leave anyone out. No one has such a small mind also,”Halappa Achar, Karnataka’s minister for mines and geology, Women and Child Development, Differently Abled and Senior Citizens Empowerment department said.
“There are many great people, we can never forget them and we do remember them from time to time. But to say we forgot about them is something I do not agree with,” he said. Meanwhile,BJP national general secretary CT Ravi took to Twitter to slam Congress.
“If CONgress would have been in power today, Indians would have been bombarded with Nehru’s images and told that Nehru was the only person who fought for India’s Independence. But the reality was that 13 of the 15 Congress Units did not want Nehru as India’s first Prime Minister,” Ravi said.