Mumbai: Khadi Village Industries Commission (KVIC) officers are backing the move to replace Mahatma Gandhi's photographs with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's in 2017 calendars and diaries.
In the process, they have virtually come out against KVIC's 2,800-strong employees' planned agitation from January 26.
The KVIC Officers Association, with around 300 members, has written to KVIC Chairman Vinai Kumar Saxena alleging the recent developments as "politics with malafide intentions to defame the organisation".
"KVIC does not need any certificate from miscreants or anti-organisation elements," said a letter sent by the organisation's General Secretary Babul Mandal.
The officers expressed solidarity with the Chairman.
Speaking to IANS on Monday, Mandal expressed concern that unless checked immediately, "the matter may get escalated, which will be to the detriment of the KVIC and its artisans in the villages.
"We are deeply pained by all this. We feel there should be a compromise formula to resolve this issue at the earliest," he said.
The Khadi Gramodyog Karmachari Sena (KGKS), headed by Shiv Sena MP Anandrao Adsul, wants that Mahatma Gandhi should figure prominently on all calendars and diaries of KVIC henceforth.
It has demanded the immediate withdrawal of a show-cause notice served to employees who joined a January 12 silent protest against the move to replace Gandhi's photos with Modi's in the 2017 calendars and diaries.
The workers have threatened an all-India strike if the KVIC victimises any employee.
The KVIC decision has been criticised by major political parties including the Shiv Sena, a BJP ally, as well as prominent Gandhians, among them Tushar Gandhi, the great grandson of Mahatma Gandhi.
Many have demanded the entire lot of calendars and diaries be withdrawn and fresh ones printed bearing the pictures of Mahatma Gandhi.