Mumbai, Jan 13:

A prominent Gandhian institution of Odisha on Friday termed the replacement of Mahatma Gandhi’s photographs with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pix in the 2017 Khadi Village Industries Commission calendars and diaries as “KVIC adopting the footprints of Gandhiji’s killer”.

KVIC calendar
Pic Courtesy: NDTV

In a letter to Modi, Utkal Gandhi Smarak Nidhi Chairman, Prahallad Kumar Sinha, also condemned what he described as “the disgraceful act of KVIC for its sycophancy act in replacing the photograph of Mahatma Gandhi, Father of the Nation”.

“I am drawing your kind attention to look into this (disgraceful act of KVIC) matter on priority basis,” Sinha said in his strongly-worded letter to the Prime Minister.

He said the world knows that it was on the strength of Gandhi’s Satyagraha movement, his principal weapons of truth and non-violence that the country attained freedom, and the Tricolour and Charkha inspired crores of patriots during the Independence movement.

Gandhiji’s 18-point constructive programmes like Khadi, village industries, gram swaraj, prohibition, fight against untouchability, communal harmony, etc, strengthened the spirit of the freedom movement and post-Independence the government set up KVIC to practice and popularize these values, he wrote.

“As a matter of sycophancy, KVIC authorities this year have replaced Mahatma Gandhi’s photographs from its calendar and diary. This act has hurt millions who love and respect Gandhiji and his values. It is pertinent to mention here that when the Bharatiya Janata Party was formed in 1980, it adopted Gandhian Socialism,” Sinha pointed out.

“However, an institution of the central government led by BJP, instead of spreading Gandhian values, is adopting footprints of Gandhiji’s killer in replacing his photographs,” he lamented.

“The world is observing Gandhiji’s birthday as International Non-Violence Day. But unfortunately, in his homeland conspiracy is being hatched to bury the Gandhian values.. Gandhiji and his principles are in the hearts of the millions in India and abroad,” Sinha said.

He urged Modi to “sense the sentiments of the people and do the needful in this regard immediately”.

Sinha’s communication to the Prime Minister followed news about the Mumbai-headquartered KVIC replacing Gandhi’s pictures with that of Modi in its popular annual wall calendars and desk diaries for 2017.

The story, reported first by IANS, has kicked off a storm across the country with widespread condemnation, protests and trolling of the KVIC decision, while its employees staged a silent protest with black bands on their mouths on Thursday.

However, the KVIC Chairman Vinai Kumar Saxena on Thursday virtually justified the step on grounds that the Prime Minister is a “youth icon” and it was in tune with his vision of development for the country. (IANS)