BJP uses ‘Sonia cartoon’ to target price rise
Opposition Congress leaders in Chhattisgarh are fuming after the ruling BJP’s in-house monthly magazine Deep Kamal published a controversial cover-page cartoon with striking resemblance to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, portraying her as a daayan or a witch.
The cover-page cartoon also depicts a look-alike of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh telling the woman — who sports the Congress party symbol of a hand on her forehead — that “I am your slave. I am presenting you your favourite food — aam admi ka tel” (oil squeezed out of common man). The cartoon also shows a person resembling NCP leader and union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar saying, “Our pet media will continue to defame our adversaries and save us again.”
The magazine’s editor, Subhash Rao, a former journalist and now chairman of Chhattisgarh State Housing Board, uses lyrics from the Aamir Khan movie Peepli Live’s song (“Saki saiya to khoobe kamat hai, mehagai daayan khaya jaat hai”) and describes the definition of a daayan in his signed editorial, saying that a daayan doesn’t spare even her own children.
“The description of the daayan is symbolic. Our intention is not to promote any superstition. Price rise has grown into the proportions of a daayan”, says Rao in the monthly magazine, whose printer and publisher is Rajesh Munat, the Urban Development Minister in the Raman Singh ministry.
BJP sources said a Delhi-based cartoonist had designed the cover and the magazine thought it appropriate to publish it as the entire country is battling price rise.
“What the entire media could not do was done by a single song of the film by describing price rise as a daayan,” they said.
Subhash Rao told The Indian Express, “It’s only symbolic, to highlight the problem of price rise. The characters don’t have any resemblance to any people... If anyone thinks so, it is their problem.”
“How can those who pretend to be protectors of Indian culture stoop to such a
low level? It’s a terrible insult to womanhood,” state Congress president Dhanendra Sahu said.
“Raman Singh government itself had brought a legislation — Chhattisgarh Tonhi Atrocities (Prevention) Act — to contain the evil practice of branding women as tonhi (witches) and providing for stringent punishment to those harassing them,” Sahu pointed out and demanded action against Minister Rajesh Munat and Housing Board chairman Subhash Yadav.
Former Chief Minister Ajit Jogi strongly condemned publication of the ‘disgraceful’ cartoon saying that the party would consider taking legal action. Leader of the Opposition Ravindra Choubey termed it as BJP’s ‘intellectual bankruptcy”.