Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has a solution to the country’s economic progress and prosperity — print images of Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Ganesha on new currency notes. His demand, however, drew sharp reactions from the BJP, which called it an “unsuccessful attempt” to hide the “ugly” anti-Hindu face of AAP in view of upcoming elections.
Claiming that the Indian economy was not in good shape, Kejriwal said at a press conference the country needed a lot of effort to get the economy back on track along with the “blessings of our gods and goddesses”.
“Today, I am appealing to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Centre that our currency notes have the image of Mahatma Gandhi on one side. It should remain as it is but on the other side, there should be an image of Ganesha and Lakshmi,” he said.
Asserting that he was not requesting to exchange all the notes in circulation, Kejriwal said his suggestion was to include the images of Ganesha and Lakshmi on the notes that are printed every month.
“This way, a significant amount of these notes will be in circulation in some time,” he added.
The AAP national convener said his suggestion was not against anyone, adding that even Indonesia, a Muslim country with less than two per cent Hindus and more than 85 per cent Muslims, had images of Lord Ganesha on its currency notes.
He claimed that the Indian economy was going through a delicate phase, adding that the rupee was getting weaker against the US dollar every day and the common man had to bear the brunt.
On Tuesday, the rupee appreciated 7 paise to close at 82.81 against the US dollar, as easing crude oil prices buoyed investor sentiment.
When asked about how the idea came to him, Kejriwal said he felt that currency notes should have the images of the two deities while performing Diwali puja on Monday.
“We want India to become a developed and prosperous country. We have to build schools, hospitals in large numbers and develop infrastructure for electricity and roads to make this possible. All of us make efforts but they only bear fruits when God showers blessing on us.
“The entire country will be blessed if currency notes have the images of Lord Ganesha-Goddess Lakshmi,” the chief minister stressed.
Kejriwal now trying to be Hindu: BJP
The BJP on Wednesday cited past comments of AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal to claim that his demand for having images of Lord Ganesha and Goddess Lakshmi on currency notes is the height of U-turn as he is “trying” to be a Hindu to divert attention from his party’s “anti-Hindu” mindset. “He is doing political drama to divert people’s attention from the flaws of his government and the anti-Hindu mindset of the Aam Aadmi Party. What Kejriwal has said in his press conference is another extension of his U-turn politics. His hypocrisy is on show,” BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra told reporters.
He noted that the AAP government had recently warned people celebrating Diwali with firecrackers of legal action. Patra also referred to AAP leader Rajendra Pal Gautam’s presence at a controversial religious conversion event recently where pledge to not worship Hindu deities was taken. Gautam “abused” and “mocked” deities but he remains in the AAP, he said, claiming that his removal as a minister in the Kejriwal government was an eyewash.
The BJP spokesperson also noted that Kejriwal had once spoken against the construction of Ram temple and said a hospital should be built at the site in Ayodhya. He said, “People should watch the video in which Kejriwal is saying that he would not go to Ram temple for worship at any cost because Lord Ram will not accept that worship.”
Internet is full of his “anti-Hindu” remarks, he said, and also referred to the alleged involvement of Tahir Hussain, then a AAP leader, in the Delhi riots.
The BJP spokesperson also raised Kejriwal’s attack on BJP leaders for their support to the movie ‘The Kashmir Files’, which was based on the sufferings of Kashmiri Pandits following the outbreak of militancy in the Valley. He had mocked the movie and is now trying to be a Hindu, Patra claimed.
Kejriwal had then rejected the BJP’s demand to waive tax on the film and mocked its leaders’ support to the movie.