New Delhi: After stoking a fresh controversy by claiming that after khadi stationery, Mahatma Gandhi would be removed from currency notes as well, Haryana Cabinet Minister Anil Vij on Saturday said the statement is his personal opinion and he takes it back as he does not want to hurt anyone's sentiments.
"The comment I made on Mahatma Gandhi is my personal opinion, to avoid hurting anyone's sentiments I take it back," Vij tweeted. Vij's remarks drew flak from the Congress which said that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has always spread hatred, adding that Prime Minister Modi is trying to end Gandhi's memory from India.
"The BJP is doing what the Britishers have done. Mahatma Gandhi is the soul of India. One can only expect such kind of objectionable and nonsensical statements from the BJP's leaders and ministers," Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said.
Distancing itself from Vij's comment, the BJP said Mahatma Gandhi is an icon, adding that the saffron party condemns the remark.
"BJP strongly condemns statement of Anil Vij, it's his personal remark and not party's stand. Mahatma Gandhi is our icon," said BJP spokesperson Shrikant Sharma.
Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar also said, "It is his personal opinion and has nothing to do with the party."
Amid political uproar over the new Khadi Village Industries Commission (KVIC) calendar featuring Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Vij had said that the former is a bigger brand name than Mahatma Gandhi.
"Since the time when Gandhi's name got associated with Khadi...it could not progress. The day Mahatma Gandhi came on the rupee, its devaluation started. Gradually, he will be removed from the notes also. It's good that Gandhi has been replaced with Modi...Modi is a bigger brand name. After Modi's association with Khadi, there has been 14 percent increase in sale of the products," he said.
In a big development, Mahatma Gandhi's picture weaving Khadi on a simple charkha, wearing his trademark cloth has been replaced by Prime Minister Modi's picture in the same classic pose as that of the former in the KVIC diary and calendar.
However, the issue took a new turn on Friday as sources said the calendar never featured the picture of Father of the Nation. (Agencies)