Bengaluru: On the eve of India’s 75th Independence Day, the Karnataka government courted controversy by releasing an advertisement to mark the Har Ghar Tiranga campaign by keeping the country’s first Prime Minister and freedom fighter Jawaharlal Nehru out of the picture and, instead, featuring Hindutva ideologue Vinayak Damodar Savarkar prominently.
While Nehru found no place in the ad, Savarkar is seen in the very first row brushing shoulders with Mahatma Gandhi, Subhash Chandra Bose, Vallabhbhai Patel, Bhagat Singh and Chandrashekhar Azad. Savarkar is named ‘Revolutionary Savarkar’ in the ad.
Reacting to omission of Nehru, former CM of the state Siddaramaiah tweeted: “When we thought slavery ended with the British gone, @CMofKarnataka @BSBommai proved everyone wrong by showing that he is still a slave to @RSSorg. Not including #PanditJawaharlalNehru in the list of freedom fighters in today's govt ad shows how low a CM can go to save his chair.”
The ad also features freedom fighters such as Dr Ambedkar, Bala Gangadhar Tilak and Lal Bahadur Shastri, as well as freedom fighters from the state of Karnataka such as Kittur Rani Chennamma, Sangolli Rayanna and HS Doreswamy.
Congress leader Jairam Ramesh slammed Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai for excluding Jawaharlal Nehru from the newspaper ad. He accused the Karnataka chief minister of "insulting" his father, S.R. Bommai, a Nehru supporter.
“Nehru will survive such pettiness. CM Karnataka desperate to save his job knows what he has done is an insult to his father S.R. Bommai & his father's 1st political guru M.N. Roy both great Nehru admirers, the latter being a friend as well. Pathetic this is," Ramesh wrote on Twitter.