The replacement of Mahatma Gandhi’s picture with that of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the 2017 Khadi and Village Industries Commission calendar and table diary has irked a section of khadi workers who staged a protest at the Vile Parle headquarters in Mumbai on Thursday. The protestors told PTI that Gandhi was inextricably linked to the Khadi movement.

In the calendar, Modi is seen spinning the charkha. Demanding reprinting of the calendars, one of the protesting workers said, “We are not against inclusion of Modiji’s picture. We simply want to know why Gandhiji has not been given the space here? Is Gandhiji no more relevant for [the] Khadi industry?”

A senior official of the commission, however, said the decision to print Modi’s picture on the 2017 calendars was taken to “commemorate the historical moment” when the prime minister distributed 500 charkhas among women in Ludhiana in October last year. “No one can even think of ignoring the Mahatma. [The] Khadi industry is based on his philosophy and intrinsic association with it,” said an unidentified official.

Commission chairperson Vinai Kumar Saxena told IANS that this was “not unusual”. Last year also, Modi’s picture was included in the calendar. “He is khadi’s biggest brand ambassador, and his vision matches KVIC’s, of ‘Make in India’ by making villages self-sufficient. Plus, the PM is a youth icon,” said Saxena.