Put PM Modi’s photo on death certificates too: BJP ally Manjhi
This is the second controversy to break out over the use of the PM’s photograph in the certificates.
Jitan Ram Manjhi, the chief of one of the National Democratic Alliance’s (NDA) partners in Bihar, Hindustani Awam Morcha-Secular (HAM-S), set off a political storm on Monday when he said that like vaccination certificates, death certificates of Covid-19 victims should also carry the photograph of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“If you are so fond of putting photograph on the vaccine certificate, then the photo should be put on the death certificate too. Only this will be fair,” the former Bihar chief minister posted on Twitter. He shortly deleted his tweet, but not before it was noticed.
His deleted tweet follows one on Sunday when he said that it would have been more appropriate to have a photograph of the President. In the same tweet he added that the PM’s of the respective chief minister’s picture could be used.
This is the second controversy to break out over the use of the PM’s photograph in the certificates. Over the weekend, it emerged that Chattisgarh was issuing certificates to those vaccinated in the 18-45 years age group with CM Bhupesh Baghel’s photograph. His government defended the move on the grounds that vaccines in this segment are being funded by the state.
Manjhi’s son Santosh Manjhi is a minister for minor irrigation and SC/ST Welfare department in the Nitish Kumar-led NDA government in the state. HAM-S won four out of the seven seats it contested in the Assembly elections last year.
HAM-S spokesperson Danish Rizwan said: “Not 1% of the population of Dalit and Adivasis have been vaccinated yet because they are afraid and fear vaccination. Putting the picture of the President, who is also a Dalit, will inspire them.”
Taking note of Manjhi’s deleted tweet, the state’s opposition Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) party suggested that HAM-S quit the NDA alliance. “What he raised today, the opposition has been demanding the same. If you are against the autocratic system, come out of it otherwise people will think that you are issuing statements to be in the news,” RJD spokesperson Mritunjay Tiwari said.
Reacting to Manjhi’s tweet, Janata Dal (United) state president Umesh Kushwaha said everyone has the right to share their views in a democracy. “Manjhi ji is a mature leader and a part of the NDA. In a democracy, everybody has the right to put forward his views and at times, people come out with personal views as well, which is always welcome. This is the beauty of democracy.”
BJP state chief Sanjay Jaiswal said: “I can say for sure that the certificate is an authentic letter for one and all anywhere in the world.”
Political analyst D M Diwakar said it appears as though all is not well for Manjhi in the alliance. “He is probably testing the waters elsewhere.”
Like Chattisgarh, Jharkand is also issuing certificates with photographs of chief minister Hemant Soren to beneficiaries in the 18-45 age group