A photo-shopped 200 rupee note with an image of Maratha icon Chhatrapati Shivaji — that was BJP leader Nitesh Rane’s contribution to the row over Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s suggestion on changing the look of Indian currency.
Mr Rane, MLA from Kankavli, tweeted the photo, captioned “Yeh perfect hai (this is perfect)”.
Ye perfect hai ! 😊 pic.twitter.com/GH6EMkYeSN
— nitesh rane (@NiteshNRane) October 26, 2022
Mr Kejriwal, whose party has emerged as the BJP’s chief opponent in the coming Gujarat assembly elections, has suggested that images of Goddess Lakhshmi and Lord Ganesh be inscribed on Indian currency. He has argued that it could be a way of shoring up the economy and indicated that it may even help arrest the slide of the rupee against the dollar.
The suggestion has met with rancour from the BJP, which apparently saw it as an invasion of its political space. A battery of the party’s senior leaders unleashed a vigorous attack on the AAP chief.
Mr Kejriwal, the BJP said, is engaging in “political drama” to divert people’s attention from the “flaws of his government and the anti-Hindu mindset of the Aam Aadmi Party”.
“What Kejriwal has said in his press conference is another extension of his U-turn politics. His hypocrisy is on show,” BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra told reporters.
Party leader Manoj Tiwri said AAP had “abused” Hindu gods and goddesses but is now trying to “save face” ahead of elections. “Those who objected to Ram Mandir have come with a new mask,” he said at a press conference.
In a television interview, senior BJP leader Shahnawaz Hussain alleged that Mr Kejriwal was trying to “sideline Mahatma Gandhi”. Its IT cell head Amit Malaviya called him “an anti-Hindu bigot” on Twitter.
The BJP was upset earlier too, when Mr Kejriwal had recited the Hanuman Chalisa at a television interview ahead of the assembly elections in Delhi.
“For now, only Kejriwal has started reciting the Hanuman Chalisa. Just wait and see: you will even find Owaisi reading the Hanuman Chalisa one day,” Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had said.
Mr Kejriwal has appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to consider including the images of the deities in addition to that of Mahatma Gandhi.
“As I said we have to make a lot of effort to improve the economic situation of our country,” he said. “But also with that, we need blessings from Gods and Goddesses. The whole country will get blessings if, on currency notes, there is a photo of Ganesh Ji and Lakshmi ji on one side and Gandhi ji on other side,” he had added.
He had also cited the example of Indonesia, where the image of Lord Ganesh is part of some currencies.