New Delhi, Jan 13: The BJP government on Friday sought to downplay a controversy over Prime Minister Narendra Modi "replacing" Mahatma Gandhi on the 2017 calendar and diary of the Khadi Village Industries Commission (KVIC), saying that the 'Father of the Nation' is "irreplaceable".
Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi and AAP supremo and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal took pot shots at Modi over the issue.
"It is not that Modi has replaced Gandhi. The pages of the calendar are month wise and in just one page Modi's photo is there," said Union Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Minister Kalraj, while admitting that he is yet to see the calendar.
"Gandhiji has his own place, nobody can take it," he told reporters. Asked if they would try to replace Modi's picture with that of Gandhi, Mishra said: "I haven't seen it (calender). Once I see we will do whatever necessary. Nobody can take Gandhiji's place."
The "replacing" of Gandhi's photos with that of Modi spinning the charkha attracted snide remarks from Rahul Gandhi and Arvind Kejriwal. KVIC employees too observed "a silent, soul-cleansing" protest.
"The Mangalyaan effect," said Gandhi on Twitter. "Becoming Gandhi requires years of austerities. One cannot become Gandhi by acting to spin the Charkha, this would only attract ridicule," Kejriwal said in a tweet.