‘Mahatma Gandhi’s photo dropped from KVIC calendar earlier too’ (Lead, superseding earlier story)

New Delhi, Jan 13 (IANS) The Khadi Village Industries Commission (KVIC) has in the past published calendars and diaries that did not have the photograph of Mahatma Gandhi, sources said on Friday, brushing aside as “needless” the controversy over Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s photograph ‘replacing’ that of Gandhi in this year’s calendar and table diaries.

Opposition parties have targeted Prime Minister Modi over his photo “replacing” that of Gandhi in calender and table diaries issued by the KVIC.

The sources said that the calendar diary issued by KVIC in 1996, 2002, 2005, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2016 did not have the photograph of Mahatma Gandhi, and the issue did not merit any controversy.

The sources said that sale of khadi products increased by five to seven per cent during the Congress rule, but the last two years had seen “unprecedented” jump in khadi sales with the increase now touching 34 per cent.

They said the growth in sales has been possible due to the push given by Prime Minister Modi towards acceptance of khadi among people.

The sources said that KVIC does not have a rule that calendars and diaries should have a photograph of Mahatma Gandhi. According to them, Modi was a “youth icon” and the growing popularity of khadi among the young people was proof of this.

They said that Modi’s picture on the KVIC diary calendar was from a programme in which he distributed “charkha (spinning wheel)” among poor women.

IANS on Thursday reported about Modi’s picture spinning the charkha donning the cover page of the KVIC calendar and dairy, instead of the iconic picture of Gandhi weaving khadi on a simple charkha, wearing his trademark loin cloth.

Opposition parties including the Congress, Left the Trinamool Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party were unanimous in slamming the move, asserting the “Father of the Nation” was “irreplaceable”.

–IANS

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