The Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha on Friday has issued a demand that Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose should replace Mahatma Gandhi's photograph on currency notes as the former's contribution to the freedom struggle was "no less" than the Father of the Nation.
The demand from the organisation comes weeks after the outrage over the installation of a Mahishasur idol that resembled Mahatma Gandhi at a Durga puja organised by ABHM here.
"We think Netaji's contribution to the country's freedom struggle was no less than that of Mahatma Gandhi. So the best way to honour India's greatest freedom fighter Netaji is to have his picture on currency notes. Gandhiji's photo should be replaced with that of Netaji," ABHM state working president Chandrachur Goswami said while addressing a press conference here.
He also said the organisation has decided to contest state panchayat polls due next year.
Goswami's demand drew criticism from the TMC and the Congress, which said the offshoots of the BJP should stop pursuing divisive politics in West Bengal.
Congress state unit president Adhir Chowdhury said Gandhiji's role in the country's Independence is undeniable.
"All of us know who was behind the killing of Mahatma Gandhi and now his ideals and principles are being murdered daily. The BJP and the RSS should answer to this," he said.
Goswami, however, reiterated that the depiction of Gandhiji as Mahishasur was "unintentional" and "coincidental".
ABHM had claimed that it was a “coincidence” that the Mahishasur idol, which had a bald head and was dressed in a white dhoti and round glasses, bore resemblance to Gandhi.
"We had no intention to portray Gandhiji as Mahishasur. It was unintentional. Those trying to create a controversy on the issue should refrain from doing it," he said in a press statement.
Speaking on his outfit's plan in the state, Goswami said the organisation will contest the next year's panchayat polls.
"Neither the TMC nor the BJP has been able to protect the rights of Hindu Bengalis in the state. We will fight to protect their rights. We also don't support the demand for division of Bengal by certain BJP legislators. We want to work towards strengthening the state," he said.
Claiming that ABHM's organisation is growing in every district of the state, Goswami said, "We will contest the panchayat polls and will come up with astounding results."
The West Bengal BJP, while reacting to Goswami's statements, said the party doesn't look at the electorate through the prism of any particular community or religion.
"We don't want to emphasise what they are saying. But we want to say that we don't pursue politics through the prism of any particular community or religion," BJP state spokesperson Samik Bhattacharya said.