Print images of Lakshmi, Ganesha on currency notes to improve India’s economy, Kejriwal to PM Modi
New Delhi, Oct. 26 (PTI): 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.
Lashing out at Kejriwal, the BJP said his demand was the height of U-turn as he was “trying” to be a Hindu.
His hypocrisy is on show, BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra told reporters as he noted that the Aam Aadmi Party 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 a pledge was taken to not worship Hindu deities.
Gautam “abused” and “mocked” deities but he remains in the AAP, Patra said, claiming that his removal as a minister in the Kejriwal government was an eyewash.
The BJP’s Northeast Delhi MP Manoj Tiwari also slammed the AAP leader’s demand, calling it an “unsuccessful attempt” to hide the “ugly” anti-Hindu face of the AAP in view of upcoming elections.
He said if Kejriwal meant what he said, then he should expel former Delhi minister Rajendra Pal Gautam and AAP’s Gujarat unit chief Gopal Italia from the party for allegedly speaking against Hindu deities. He demanded that Kejriwal show his respect for Sanatan Dharma by expelling Gautam and Italia from the party.
“All such leaders… whether it’s (Rajendra Pal) Gautam or the AAP’s Gujarat unit president are still in the party.”
Kejriwal, who has so far protected his party leaders who “insulted Hindu gods and goddesses, is now trying to save his face in view of the elections”, Tiwari alleged, referring to the upcoming elections to the Municipal Corporation of Delhi and the Gujarat Assembly.
“Without even a letter from you, we developed the Mahakal corridor and started Ram temple construction that you opposed quoting your grandmother,” the BJP MP said.
Putting her weight behind the Delhi chief minister, AAP leader Atishi asked the BJP to support Kejriwal’s proposal.
“You (BJP) can continue to hate Arvind Kejriwal if you want to, but don’t hate Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Ganesha at least. Don’t hate their blessings. Don’t hate this country’s prosperity at least.
“I want to request the BJP with folded hands not to oppose this proposal just because they hate the Aam Aadmi party (AAP) and Arvind Kejriwal,” the AAP MLA said at a press conference.