Deities on notes: Political rivals and AAP supporters slam Kejriwal demand

Deities on notes: Political rivals and AAP supporters slam Kejriwal demand

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Delhi Chief Minister and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) chief Arvind Kejriwal’s suggestion to print images of deities on currency notes has not gone down well with anybody, it seems. Cutting across political lines, AAP rivals have criticised his statement, and so have some AAP supporters.

A day after Kejriwal’s statement, Congress MP Manish Tewari on Thursday wondered on social media why Bhimrao Ambedkar’s photo should not be on a new series of notes. The party’s Punjab unit chief, Amrinder Singh Raja, accused Kejriwal of resorting to “competitive Hindutva” to outwit the BJP in poll-bound Gujarat.

Also read: Kejriwal’s call for deities’ images on currency notes shows he’ll go to any extent for Hindu votes

On the other hand, the BJP’s Sambit Patra said Kejriwal was resorting to “political drama to divert people’s attention from the flaws of his government and AAP’s anti-Hindu mindset.” Even popular musician Vishal Dadlani, who is a vocal AAP supporter, took to social media to make a veiled criticism of Kejriwal’s demand.

“Why not Ambedkar?”

During a media briefing on Wednesday, the AAP national convener appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to have images of Lord Ganesh and Goddess Lakshmi printed on currency notes.

“Despite trying our best, sometimes our efforts do not fructify if the gods and goddesses are not blessing us. I appeal to PM (Modi) to have images of Lord Ganesh and Goddess Lakshmi on our currency (notes). If there is an image of Lakshmi-Ganesh on our currency (notes), our country will prosper,” Kejriwal said.

On Thursday, Tewari, an MP from Punjab’s Anandpur Sahib, tweeted, “Why not Dr Babasahib Ambedkar’s photograph on new series of currency notes? On one side the great Mahatma (Gandhi) the other side Dr (B R) Ambedkar. Non-violence, constitutionalism, and egalitarianism fusing in a unique union that would sum up the modern Indian genius perfectly,” his tweet read.

Veiled attack

Dadlani’s tweet did not mention currency notes but his hint was evident. “The Constitution of India states that we are a Secular Socialist Republic. Hence, religion must have NO PLACE in governance. To be completely clear, I have nothing to do with anyone who brings any part of any religion to any aspect of government. Jai Hind.”

His post came hours after Kejriwal’s video was released. In the video, the Delhi CM even referred to Indonesia, a Muslim nation that has a picture of Lord Ganesh on its currency note. “When Indonesia can, why can’t we?” he said.

Eye on polls

Kejriwal’s suggestions come ahead of Assembly elections in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, and the Delhi municipal polls. Since returning to power in Delhi in 2020, the AAP has pushed hard to expand its national footprint. It succeeded by scoring a stunning victory in Punjab earlier this year.

Also read: Kejriwal’s poll sop for Gujarat: Rs 40 daily per cow if AAP wins

Since then, Kejriwal has been striving hard to make inroads into the BJP’s core Hindu support base. Wednesday’s statement seems yet another attempt towards the same goal.

Congress leader Sandeep Dikshit was quite scathing in his attack. “Arvind Kejriwal is B-team of BJP. He doesn’t have any understanding. It is his vote politics. If he goes to Pakistan, he can also say that ‘I am Pakistani, so vote for me’,” he mocked.

(With agency inputs)

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