KOCHI: Congress party landed in trouble on Wednesday, the 14th day of Bharat Jodo yatra
led by Rahul Gandhi
, after a photo of V D Savarkar appeared on a campaign poster of the Yatra, at Athani near Kochi.
The poster featuring India’s freedom fighters was put up on Wednesday morning by a group of local leaders in Chengamanad panchayat, as part of the campaign programme of the Yatra which began its two-day long tour in the district on Wednesday. The image of the Savarkkar was between Govind Ballabh Pant and Chandra Shekhar Azad in the flex banner.
After the photos and visuals of the poster circulated on social media, the party invited strong criticism from various corners and the party workers themselves covered a photo of Savarkar in the flex banner with another banner featuring Mahatma Gandhi.
Sensing the damage caused by the poster, the local leadership of the congress immediately came up with clarification that the poster was a mistake on the part of a party worker who selected the image of a freedom fighter from google. The party also suspended the local leader of Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC) Suresh in connection with the incident. Responding to the media during a press conference, senior leader of the party Jairam Ramesh explained that it was a minor mistake from a party worker and that the yatra team had nothing to do with it. Local MLA, Anwar Sadath also clarified that a congress worker, who put up the poster at his own expense had failed to give proper direction to the local printer who selected images of freedom fighters from websites.
But, BJP, which considers Savarkkar a freedom fighter and a hero, jumped into the matter immediately.
“Veer Savarkar’s pictures adorn Congress’s Bharat Jodo Yatra in Ernakulum (near the airport). Although belated, good realisation for Rahul Gandhi, whose great grandfather Nehru, signed a mercy petition, pleaded the British to allow him to flee from Punjab’s Nabha jail in just 2 weeks,” tweeted Amit Malviya, the BJP’s I-T Cell chief.
“It seems all attempts by Rahul to obfuscate history did not work! Veer Savarkar against whom Rahul has been spewing lies was exposed when his #BharatJodo Yatra in Aluva, Ernakulam carried posters of Veer Savarkar! Later on they tried to cover it up ! Savarkar Zindabad”,” tweeted Shehzad Poonawalla.
CPM leaders in Kerala also came up strongly against Congress for putting up the poster featuring Savarkar.
But Jairam Ramesh criticised CPM leaders saying that CPM which shared power with Sanghparivar during the rule of P Singh has no right to criticise congress on the issue of the Savarkkar poster.