The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Wednesday reacted to Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal’s appeal to put images of Hindu deities Lakshmi and Ganesh on currency notes, calling it a political gimmick ahead of elections in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh.

BJP MP and former Delhi unit chief Manoj Tiwari responded to the Aam Aadmi Party chief and said, “Their (AAP) minister, Gujarat chief and leaders have abused Hindu gods and said many things, and yet they are in the party. They’re bringing new tactics to save face in polls. Those who objected to Ram Mandir have come with a new mask.”

The BJP’s national spokesperson, Sambit Patra, also weighed in, alleging that Kejriwal’ politics had taken a U-turn. “… he’s the same man who declined to ever go to Ayodhya’s Ram temple, claiming God won’t accept the prayers offered there… he’s the same man who laughed and called exodus of Kashmiri Pandits a lie, in Parliament.”

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Earlier in the day Kejriwal had appealed to prime minister Narendra Modi that rupee notes should feature images of Ganesh and Lakshmi in an effort to improve the economy. “I am not saying that this alone will improve the economy… many other efforts need to be undertaken… but those [efforts] will materialise if we have the blessings of gods and goddesses,” he said, adding ‘the economy is passing through a vulnerable phase’.

Kejriwal also spoke about the falling value of the rupee and said, “This badly impacts poor people… After 75 years of independence, India is still a developing country and we all want our nation to become a developed country and every family to be rich. We need to make several efforts to achieve this, including developing schools, hospitals, roads and infrastructure.”

Kejriwal also clarified his position, saying he wanted images of the Hindu deities as an addition to and not replacement of Mahatma Gandhi’s image on rupee notes, and used Indonesia as an example of a country that has images of Ganesha on some notes.

By Shadab

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