Chandigarh: In yet another instance of friendly fire, BJP MP Varun Gandhi has taken a veiled dig at the centre over a viral video that shows several people alleging that they were forced to buy a national flag for ₹ 20 when they went to ration stores to pick up provisions.
The Pilibhit MP, who has been targeting his party over a host of issues, shared the video on Twitter with a post that read, “It would be unfortunate if celebrations to mark the 75th anniversary of Independence become a burden for the poor.”
“Ration card holders are being forced to buy the national flag or denied a share of grains they are entitled to. It is shameful to extract the price of ‘Tiranga’, which lives is in the heart of every Indian, by snatching the poor’s morsel of food,” Mr Gandhi added.
In the video, recorded by a news portal in Haryana’s Karnal, people are seen alleging that they were forced to pay ₹ 20 and buy the national flag when they went to collect ration at a state-run depot.
A man in the video, who appears to be a staff at the ration depot, says that they had received orders that each person taking ration had to buy the flag for ₹ 20 and put it up at their homes. “We have been told not to give ration to anyone who refuses to buy the flag. We have to do what we are ordered to,” he said.
Soon after the video went viral, the depot owner’s licence was suspended. Deputy Commissioner Anish Yadav said action has been taken against the depot owner for misleading the people. He appealed to the people to inform the administration if there are similar instances. He said the national flags are being sold at the ration depots for the convenience of the people, and they can buy them if they want to.
The BJP MP’s remarks came amid the government’s grand plans to celebrate 75 years of Independence under the Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav this year. ‘Har Ghar Tiranga’ is a campaign under the Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav.
As part of the drive, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has changed the display picture on his social media accounts to “Tiranga” (tricolour or national flag) and urged the citizens to do the same.
“It is a special 2nd August today! At a time when we are marking Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, our nation is all set for #HarGharTiranga, a collective movement to celebrate our Tricolour. I have changed the DP on my social media pages and urge you all to do the same,” he tweeted earlier this month.
Varun Gandhi’s latest remark is the latest in a series of attacks he has launched on the government led by his party.