New Delhi, Mar 16: After a holiday list purportedly released by the Goa government triggered a controversy after it appeared minus Gandhi Jayanti, prompting chief minister Laxmikant Parsekar to step in and say the omission could be an act of "mischief" or a "mistake", RSS also gave its say on the issue.
Though RSS refused to be drawn into the controversy over BJP-led Goa government's 'decision' or 'mistake' but said the number of holidays in the country should come down for improved work culture.
What's the controversy?
A controversy erupted after Gandhi Jayanti, the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, was not marked as a holiday in the current year's calender of the Goa government released on Saturday.
"It could be a typing mistake. It is not an intentional mistake," Parsekar said even as the ripples spread beyond the state's borders over the year's calendar, released yesterday.
Ironically, October 2 "disappeared" from the list of commercial and industrial holidays on a day the Mahatma's statue was unveiled in London's Parliament Square.
The purported list had retained all other holidays.
Gandhi Jayanti, the birth anniversary of the Father of the Nation, was not marked as a holiday in the current year's calender.
The decision has triggered strong reactions from a section of legislators in the state.
Gandhi Jayanti has been celebrated all over the country for decades, with the entire nation gratefully recalling the services of the Mahatma, who led the struggle against the British rule through non-violent means.
Though the Goa Chief Minister has said that it was a printing mistake, a senior official from the General Administration Department said it had the approval of government.
Independent opposition legislator Vijay Sardesai said it was all the more surprising that dropping of the Gandhi Jayanti came just the day after the Mahatma's statue was unveiled at Parliament Square in London.
"It is strange that back in the country his birthday is being dropped from the list of holidays. Is this nationalism or the BJP's sense of civility?" he said.
Condemning the decision, Goa's lone Rajya Sabha member Shantaram Naik said BJP leaders claim they hold Gandhi in high esteem and started worshipping him in recent times, but actually denigrate him on every available opportunity.
Naik alleged that in the name of 'Swachh Bharat', BJP perhaps wants to obliterate the name of Gandhi in whatever form it exists, adding that he would raise the issue in Rajya Sabha tomorrow.
When Manohar Parrikar was Chief Minister of Goa, the government had sought to scrap a few public holidays, including Gandhi Jayanti, Good Friday and Old Goa Feast, but had to give up the move due to public outcry.
(With inputs from agencies)