BJP wants Sonia photo out of government ads

May 19th, 2008 - 7:24 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Sonia Gandhi

New Delhi, May 19 (IANS) Saying it was against rules, India’s main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Monday urged the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) to not use the photographs of Congress president Sonia Gandhi in its advertisements. “Sonia Gandhi is not part of the UPA government and so her photographs should not be used in advertisements put up by the government,” BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad told reporters here.

Prasad said the UPA government will issue several advertisements May 22 - when it completes four years in office - to proclaim its achievements and Gandhi’s photographs are likely to figure in them.

“We know that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has been nominated by Gandhi but he should still direct the government not to use her pictures,” said Prasad.

He said Gandhi was the chairperson of the National Advisory Council (NAC) that is now defunct. As such, she does not hold any constitutional post and is just an MP. She heads as its chairperson the UPA, a coalition of political parties, which enjoys support from the outside of the Left parties.

Sonia Gandhi figures in most union government advertisements with the ministry concerned even making sure that her photo was larger than that of the prime minister and other ministers, Prasad said.

Prasad hinted that if BJP’s warning was not heeded in this matter then the party “may take up the issue at the appropriate forum”. He refused to say if the party would approach the Election Commission of India or drag the Congress to court.

The Congress rejected the BJP stand, terming it “inconsequential, baseless and false”.

“The UPA chairperson has a strong presence to the extent of guiding the UPA coalition,” Congress spokesperson Jayanthi Natarajan said. “We reject the BJP allegation which is borne out of frustration,” she added.

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