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"The comment I made on Mahatma Gandhi is my personal opinion, to avoid hurting anyone's sentiments I take it back," Vij tweeted.
Amid the political uproar over the new Khadi Village Industries Commission (KVIC) calendar featuring Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Vij had said that Modi was a bigger brand than Mahatma Gandhi.
"Since the time when Gandhi's name got associated with Khadi...it could not progress. The day Mahatma Gandhi came on the rupee, its devaluation started. Gradually, he will be removed from the notes also. It's good that Gandhi has been replaced with Modi...Modi is a bigger brand name. After Modi's association with khadi, there has been 14 percent increase in sale of the products," he said.
Vij's remarks drew sharp criticism from the Congress, which claimed that the BJP was always spreading hatred, and that Modi was trying to erase the Mahatma from teh memory of the citizens.
"The BJP is doing what the Britishers have done. Mahatma Gandhi is the soul of India. One can only expect such kind of objectionable and nonsensical statements from the BJP's leaders and ministers," Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala told ANI.
Distancing itself from Vij's comment, the BJP claimed that Mahatma Gandhi was an icon, and sais that the party condemned the view expressed bu Vij.
"BJP strongly condemns statement of Anil Vij,its his personal remark & not party's stand. Mahatma Gandhi is our icon," BJP leader Shrikant Sharma said.
Good that Mahatma was replaced by Modi on khadi calendar,Gandhi will also gradually be removed from currency notes says Haryana Min Anil Vij pic.twitter.com/e8AXr7WJFw
— ANI (@ANI_news) January 14, 2017