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BJP slams Congress over advt goof-up

January 24, 2010 17:57 IST

The BJP on Sunday said the inclusion of the photograph of a former Pakistan Air Force Chief in a government advertisement was in "consonance" with the thought process of Congress and demanded a clarification from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh whether there was any change in the relations with that country.

Reacting to the episode, Congress, however, termed it as a "goof-up" by either the Women and Child Development ministry or newspapers.

BJP spokesperson Rajiv Pratap Rudy said the desire to publish the photographs of its leaders has been a part of Congress for long to project their ideology through their leaders, which has backfired this time.

He said the goof-up in publishing the photo of a former Pakistan Air Chief was "in consonance with the thought process of the Congress party."

"The apology from the Prime Minister's Office, trying to cover up the statement of Women and Child Development Minister Krishna Tirath, has not made any clarification with regard to her claim that the picture was symbolic," he said.

He also sought a clarification from the prime minister on whether there is a change in the "thought process vis-à-vis our relations with Pakistan".

A photograph of ex-PAF chief appeared along with prime minister and UPA chief Sonia Gandhi in an advertisement given by the government to mark the National Girl Child Day.

Tirath had said, "The message is more important than the image. The photograph is only symbolic. The message for the girl child is more important. She should be protected."

Rudy said had such a blunder taken place under BJP rule, the party would have accepted the mistake of the department.

"But the initial stand of Tirath raises a big question about the thought process of the Congress," he said.

Rudy claimed that since the minister had reiterated that it was not a mistake, "it seems to be a statement at the behest of the Congress party itself."

Congress spokesperson Shakeel Ahmed said the "goof-up" could be due to a lapse on the part of the officials of the department concerned or the DAVP "or at the level of concerned newspapers," he said.

"PMO has already announced that it will conduct an inquiry into the episode and things will be clear after that," he added.
To a question on BJP blaming Tirath as well as Congress for the episode, Ahmed said the charge was "absurd, childish and ridiculous. No party representative selects photos for a government advertisement," he said.

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