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Furore over use of Gandhiji’s photos

— Photo: AFP

An African National Congress (ANC) electoral poster displaying the Mahatma in Durban on Monday.

Durban: The use of Mahatma Gandhi’s photos by the ruling ANC party in election campaign has created a furore among the India origin people here.

The posters are part of the strategy being pursued by the African National Congress to get people of Indian origin to vote for it in the forthcoming general election on April 22. The election posters in question have a picture of Gandhiji with the message: “Vote for Gandhi’s vision”. The posters have been put on lamp posts mainly in the Durban area. A woman caller to an election talk show on the national broadcaster, SABC’s Lotus FM radio, said Gandhiji was being used “to get Indian people to vote for the ANC”.

“I would like to know whether this is morally and ethically right?” she queried.

A political analyst on the show, Professor Karthy Govender, responded that he did not think it was appropriate for anyone to use Gandhiji’s name without the permission of the family. It was a shame that the ANC is using all kinds of tricks to get the vote of the Indian-origin people, felt the callers. “Recently they announced that they would get Bollywood actors and actresses to gain the votes of Indian people and now they are using Mahatma Gandhi’s name. What a disgrace,” said Rani Govender, a Durban house-wife.

“What do they think people are going to fall for the nonsense of the Bollywood actors and actresses? People are not that stupid,” she said. A member of the ANC responsible for putting up the Gandhiji posters, Jayraj Bachu, said he did not think that he was breaking any rule.

“It is a well known fact that Gandhi was involved in the struggles here and that he had links with the early leaders of the ANC,” he said. Ela Gandhi, a grand-daughter of Gandhiji and a former MP for the ANC, said she did not know anything about the posters. “It is the first time that I am being asked about the posters,” she said.

Meanwhile, ANC leader Jacob Zuma set aside the Opposition’s allegations that his Indian-origin comrade and business friend Schabir Shaik was released from prison because of his political influence. — PTI

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