Congress’s Tricolour campaign comes with a Nehru twist


Days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi called for all citizens to showcase the Indian flag on their social media display pictures, Opposition parties and leaders on Wednesday responded with their own twist. While the Congress changed its display picture to one of Jawaharlal Nehru with the Tricolour, former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti changed hers to a photo with both the Tricolour and the flag of the erstwhile state of J&K.

Congress spokespersons also took potshots at the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and its sarsanghchalak Mohan Bhagwat for not heeding the PM’s call yet.

Mr. Modi had made the appeal during his Mann Ki Baat radio address on Sunday to change social media DPs to the Tricolour from August 2 to August 15, to mark 75 years of Independence. Mr. Modi himself, and members of his Cabinet, did the same on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, the Congress’ official Twitter handle and those of its leaders, including Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi, displayed a photo of Nehru holding the flag. Tweeting the image, Mr. Gandhi said the Tricolour was the pride of the country and was in the heart of every Indian.

Congress general secretary in-charge of communications Jairam Ramesh said in a tweet that the party had put up DPs of Nehru with the Tiranga in hand, but it looked like Mr. Modi’s message had not reached “his family”. Those who had not hoisted the national flag at their headquarters in Nagpur for 52 years, would they listen to their Prime Minister, Mr. Ramesh asked in Hindi, referring to the RSS.

Pawan Khera, the chairman of the party’s media and publicity department, took a more direct dig, urging the Sangh to “at least adopt the Tricolour now”. He posted screenshots of Mr. Mohan Bhagwat’s Twitter handle and that of the organisation, which has a profile picture and the RSS flag, respectively, as DPs.

Responding to such criticism, RSS publicity in-charge Sunil Ambekar, who is among several senior RSS leaders to have changed their DP to the Tricolour, said, “We are part of the Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav and things will happen in due course. I urge people to celebrate this glorious occasion and not play politics on everything.”

Reacting to the Congress’s DP debut, a BJP source said Mr. Gandhi’s “delay adoption of the Tiranga campaign was perhaps a grudging admission of its widespread popularity and lack of counter narrative”.

Ms. Mufti’s DP showed Mr. Modi seated with her father, former J&K CM and People’s Democractic Party leader Mufti Mohammad Sayeed; the Tricolour and the flag of J&K are visible in front of them

“Changed my dp since a flag is a matter of joy & pride. For us our state flag was irreversibly linked to the Indian flag. It was snatched thus breaking away the link. You may have robbed us of our flag but cant erase it from our collective conscience. (sic),” Ms. Mufti tweeted.