The image of Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi has been consistently tarnished by the top Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders over the years, Congress Rajya Sabha MP Shantaram Naik said on Sunday.
Naik said more than a decade before BJP President Amit Shah called Gandhi a "chatur baniya" on Friday (June 9), Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar had cancelled the Gandhi Jayanti holiday during his first stint as Chief Minister.
"The BJP government of Goa some years back issued a gazette notification cancelling Gandhi Jayanti on October 2, public national holiday in the state, along with Good Friday holiday and Old Goa feast holiday, thereby exhibiting their hatred towards the Father of the Nation, and also hatred towards members of one of the minority communities," Naik said in a statement issued here on Sunday.
The controversial notification was issued in November 2001 but was later withdrawn after popular outrage.
"BJP may be trying to put garlands on the photo-frame of Gandhi in recent years for narrow political reasons, after directly and indirectly abusing Gandhi for decades but they should do some introspection and identify the forces which killed Gandhi," Naik also said.
Addressing a gathering in Raipur, Shah had referred to Gandhi as a "chatur baniya" and a man with a vision.