Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to include pictures of Hindu deities Ganesh and Lakshmi on currency notes.
In a video address, the Aam Aadmi Party convenor said that new currency notes could have a picture of Mahatma Gandhi on one side and pictures of the two deities on the other.
The chief minister said that Muslim-majority Indonesia also has pictures of Ganesh on some of its currency notes. “In Indonesia, 85% of the population is Muslim, and Hindus only constitute 2%,” he said. “This is a very important step that the Centre should take.”
However, a series of 20,000 bank notes with image of Ganesh were removed from circulation in 2008 by Bank Indonesia, reported fact-checking website Boom. The bank had said that it regularly revokes and withdraws notes taking into consideration the period of circulation and security.
In his address on Wednesday, Kejriwal said that the country’s economy is going through a difficult phase and the rupee is weakening against the United States dollar.
“After 75 years [of Independence], India is still a developing country,” he said. “There is a need to construct a large number of schools and hospitals to make India a wealthy country. A lot of efforts need to be taken, but efforts will only bear fruit when we have the blessings of gods and goddesses.”
Kejriwal added he did not claim that only adding the pictures would improve the condition of the economy. “But if Indonesia can do it, why not us?” he asked.
Commenting on the demand, Bharatiya Janata Party MLA from Delhi’s Rohini constituency Vijender Gupta alleged that Kejriwal was desperate as the AAP’s “anti-Hindu character” had been exposed.
Meanwhile, Congress leader Sandeep Dikshit alleged that the Delhi chief minister was the “B-team” of the BJP and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, according to ANI. “He doesn’t have any understanding,” Dikshit said. “It is his vote politics. If he goes to Pakistan, he can also say that I am Pakistani, so vote for me.”