Maharashtra government draws flak for goof up with Dr Ambedkar photograph
Maharashtra government had to face embarrassment as a childhood photograph of former chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh was used in place of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar in its magazine Maharashtra Ahead. After a sharp reaction from scholars and followers of Dr Ambedkar, the government has stopped the circulation of the April issue of the magazine.
To commemorate the birth anniversary of Dr Ambedkar, the publicity department of the state government had published a special issue of the magazine in various languages. In its English version, Maharashtra Ahead has carried the picture of Deshmukh in its opening article about the key milestones in the lifespan of Dr Ambedkar. The edition in other languages including Marathi, Hindi and Gujarati, carried an appropriate picture of Dr Ambedkar. The magazine is edited by director general of information and public relations Brijesh Singh, with social justice minister Rajkumar Badole as its guest editor.
The publicity department has called back the edition.
“Soon after we realised the goof up with the photograph, we have stopped the circulation of the issue. The responsibility of the Maharashtra Ahead has been outsourced and an action has been initiated against the agency. We had instructed to obtain the photographs to be used in the magazine from the official website, but it failed to do so. The agency has admitted to its mistake and will face the punitive action,” an official from the department said.
Opposition has slammed the state government for the goof up. “It is an insult not only to Dr Ambedkar but also to the former chief minister of the state. The publicity department is engaged in individual promotion of chief minister Devendra Fadnavis and has forgotten its primary responsibility of promotion of the government schemes. Action should be taken against the officials responsible,” said Congress leader and former chief minister Prithviraj Chavan.
Nationalist Congress Party spokesperson Nawab Malik said that the state government cannot shrug off its responsibility by pointing finger at an outsourced agency.