BJP comes up with ‘Bharatiya’ banners as riposte to Congress casteist poster

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In an apparent riposte to poster depicting castes of Congress president Rahul Gandhi and other party leaders that had come up here two days before, banners with Bharatiya (Indian) written against images of top leaders of the BJP were seen on the streets of Patna Friday. The posters, put up by the BJPs youth wing Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM), also had big pictures of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party president Amit Shah – both of these left unlabelled. Besides Modi and Shah, the posters carried images of BJP leaders of various ranks with the adjective Bharatiya besides a congratulatory message to the Prime Minister upon his being chosen for the Champions of the Earth award. Maintaining that the BJP was not involved in a poster war with the Congress, the partys spokesman Nikhil Anand, nonetheless, underscored that the posters were reflective of the difference between mentality and ideological commitment of ordinary workers associated with the two national parties. While the BJP lives by the motto of sabka saath sabka vikas as elucidated by the Prime Minister, the Congress believes in corruption, dynasty rule and casteism, Anand alleged. Notably, the BJP had flayed the Congress over the posters that had come up on Wednesday wherein Rahul Gandhi was called a Brahmin and respective castes of other leaders were mentioned against their images. The BJP spokesman had even urged the Election Commission to take note of the posters. State Congress president Madan Mohan Jha, however, clarified a day later that these posters were not officially put up by the party but by some enthusiastic supporters in the same capacity and these have been removed upon our request. Meanwhile, some media reports pointed out that in the BJP posters, while all Union ministers hailing from Bihar had figured, the Minister of State for Health and Buxar MP Ashwini Kumar Choubey was conspicuous by his absence. However, Anand dismissed the reports saying the posters have been put up not by the party itself but the youth wing. Moreover, the omission does not appear to be intentional. In the BJP, all leaders are given due respect and much should not be read into an individuals face not figuring in a poster. BJP leaders whose images figured in the posters with the adjective Bharatiya included Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Minister for Law and Justice Ravi Shankar Prasad, the national general secretary in-charge of Bihar Bhupendra Yadav, state unit president Mangal Pandey, Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi, BJYM national president Poonam Mahajan and local MLA and state BJYM chief Nitin Nabin.