Kochi: Twenty20, the Aam Aadmi Party's (AAP) ally in Kerala, has made it clear that it cannot agree with Arvind Kejriwal’s recent proposal to have pictures of Hindu gods Ganesh and Lakshmi printed on Indian currency notes.
Sabu M Jacob, chief coordinator of Twenty20, said his party can never agree with any move to mix politics with religion. “We as a political party are not interested in any move to use religion or gods to catch votes. Let religion and politics take their own courses. If at all, provided the political situation in the country, the government decides to print gods’ images on notes, there should be equal importance given to all religions,” Jacob told Onmanorama.
This is the first time, the Kizhakkambalam-based party that formed the People’s Welfare Alliance along with AAP, has made its stand on the controversy clear. Earlier, when Onmanorama contacted Jacob he said that his personal opinion was against mixing up of religion with politics.
In an apparent criticism of Kejriwal’s pragmatism ahead of the upcoming Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh elections, Jacob said: “Every party says they are against communalism, but when it comes to vote, all mainstream parties make tacit understanding with religious groups. Twenty20 will not go for such an approach. We don’t want any power that comes through such means.”
Asked about the AAP Kerala unit’s support to the proposal made by Kejriwal and some other national leaders of the party, Jacob said Twenty20 will not back it up.
The AAP state unit had lauded Kejriwal’s comments as a move to highlight the economic crisis in the country and a strategic move to counter the BJP’s move to print its ideologues’ images on notes.
Asked about the status of the AAP-Twenty20 alliance, formed in August this year, Jacob said everything was going well. “At present, AAP is focussing on the Gujarat and Himachal elections. Only that’s causing a delay in our coalition works here,” he said.
AAP state convener P C Cyriac said Kejriwal has taken the discussion over the serious economic crisis in the country and its adverse impacts to the common people by upholding cultural symbols like Goddess Laxmi and Lord Ganesha.
“With his demand, Kejriwal has defused the Sangh Parivar’s project to print the photos of its founding leaders like Golwalkar, Deendayal Upadhyaya and Savarkar on currency notes,” the former IAS officer said in a statement. He said BJP’s strategy to project Kejriwal as anti-Hindu in Gujarat has fallen flat.
Kejriwal made the controversial proposal during a media briefing in Delhi last week. He said the new notes could have a picture of Mahatma Gandhi on one side and of the two deities on the other as it would bring prosperity to the economy.
“Sometimes our efforts do not fructify if gods and goddesses are not blessing us. I appeal to PM Modi to have photos of Lord Ganesha and Goddess Laxmi on our currency notes,” he had said. His party colleagues, including Atishi and Sanjay Singh, supported the statement while the BJP and Congress opposed it, though for different reasons.
BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said Kejriwal is doing political drama to divert people's attention from the flaws of his government in Delhi and the "anti-Hindu" mindset of the AAP.
Punjab Congress chief Amrinder Singh Raja Warring accused the Delhi CM of resorting to competitive Hindutva to outwit the BJP in Gujarat.