The Bharatiya Janata Party’s Delhi unit has used a photograph of noted Tamil writer Perumal Murugan in its posters to promote a slum outreach campaign in the national Capital, according to images shared on social media on Monday.
Posters of the campaign, known as the Jhuggi Samman Yatra, have been put up in parts of Delhi and uses Murugan’s photograph, apparently with other slum dwellers. These posters were also seen at an event organised by the Delhi BJP unit in Patel Nagar on Monday, The Indian Express reported.
BJP President JP Nadda and Delhi unit chief Adesh Gupta had addressed the event.
After social media users pointed out the faux pas, BJP Delhi Vice President Rajan Tiwari told the newspaper that they will check with the design team on what led to the error.
Another unidentified BJP leader said that the design work for posters is usually outsourced to a private agency or handled by the party’s Information Technology team, The Indian Express reported. Though, the BJP’s senior functionaries have to approve the posters first, he added.
“As per procedure, an original photograph from a previous BJP programme or rally should have been used, instead of such a photograph whose source is not known,” he continued.
Mohammed Zubair, co-founder of fact-checking website AltNews, pointed out the image of Murugan used on the posters was taken from an article published by The New York Times in 2018.
Reacting to the news, Murugan wrote on Facebook, “Being one of the huts. Happy happy happy. I belong to the slums. Delighted.”
Murugan has written 10 novels and several collections of poetry and short stories.
Musician TM Krishna criticised the BJP for using Murugan’s photo in its campaign for slum dwellers. “The sheer ignorance of these people is appalling,” he wrote on Twitter. “FYI [For your information] Perumal Murugan is one of India’s most important writers!”
The Delhi BJP’s Jhuggi Samman Yatra seeks to make residents of slums aware of various welfare schemes of the Modi government and expose alleged failures of the Arvind Kejriwal government in the city. It was launched on October 15 ahead of the crucial municipal corporation elections that will be held early next year.