Mahatma Gandhi has been 'replaced' by PM Narendra Modi in the Khadi Village Industries Commission's (KVIC) 2017 wall calendar and table diary.
In a break with tradition, Modi was seen weaving khadi on a charkha instead of the Father of the Nation.
KVIC employees in Mumbai wore black bands on their months to stage "a silent, soul-cleansing" protest.
Modi 'replaces' Gandhiji in Khadi Udyog calendar
Gandhiji's connection to khadi
Mahatma Gandhi turned khadi as a symbol of the "swadeshi" movement during the freedom struggle.
The handspun and handwoven khadi cloth was aimed at bringing relief to the poor masses.
The photo of Gandhiji clad in his trademark loin cloth weaving khadi on a charkha has long been imprinted in the minds of masses over generations.
KVIC workers uphold Gandhiji's legacy
"We are pained at this systematic easing out of Mahatma Gandhi's ideas, philosophy and ideals by the government. Last year, the first attempt was made by including the PM's photos in the calendar," a KVIC staffer said. No pictures of Gandhiji were included this year.
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Arvind Kejriwal, Rahul Gandhi take jibes at Modi
"Becoming Gandhi requires years of austerities. One cannot become Gandhi by acting to spin the Charkha, this would only ridicule them," Kejriwal tweeted.
"Gandhiji would've welcomed it, also opposed his photo on notes. We should welcome it too. Less hypocrisy," said former Aam Aadmi Party leader Yogendra Yadav.
Rahul Gandhi termed the move "The Mangalyaan effect," in a reference to the Mars orbiter.
KVIC chief defends move
KVIC chairman Vinai Kumar Saxena said "there is no question" of ignoring Gandhiji as the Khadi Udyog is based on his philosophy.
He said Modi, who has been wearing Khadi for long, has popularized it and called him "khadi's biggest brand ambassador."
He said the KVIC calendar and diary had previously also been printed without Gandhiji's photo.
14 Jan 2017
Modi replaces Gandhi on Khadi calendars, stirs controversy
Khadi and village industries commission's (KVIC) move to publish Modi's photo instead of Gandhi's on its 2017 calendar and table diary stirred a fresh controversy with the opposition critiquing the move.
When asked, the Prime Minister's Office called the controversy "unnecessary".
KVIC chairman VK Saxena said there was "no rule or tradition" that only Mahatma Gandhi's picture could be published.
14 Jan 2017
Haryana ministers disrespects Gandhi, takes it back
Vij later tweeted that his comment was my "personal opinion, to avoid hurting anyone's sentiments I take it back".
BJP too said his comments shouldn't be associated with BJP's.
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