Jaipur: The Rajasthan government is all set to feature the Jan Sangh founder’s picture on all government letterheads alongside the national emblem – probably the first state government to effect such a change.
The plan, prepared by chief minister Vasundhara Raje’s office, is likely to be announced formally on December 13, the Bharatiya Janata Party government’s fourth anniversary.
Earlier this year, in July, the Rajasthan government issued orders mandating the use of a Deendayal Upadhyaya logo on all government advertisements. The ‘logo’ features a picture of Upadhyaya along with a mention of his centenary year, 1916-2016.
In August, the BJP asked its elected representatives to use the logo on their official letterheads for all correspondence.
While that change was effected at the party level, the latest move will imply official endorsement by the state government.
“Yes, it’s a cosmetic change to the letterheads. There is no large scale re-printing of official letterheads required for this since such letterheads are not used more than five-six times a month. We will simply paste stickers of Pt Deendayal Upadhyaya on the letterheads,” a senior government official privy to the decision told The Wire.
“All Central government communication already features his image along with the national emblem,” the official added.
In October, Union human resource development minister Prakash Javadekar was in news for including Deendayal Upadhyaya’s picture, just below the national emblem, on his official letterhead.
The opposition condemned the move, with Rajasthan Congress president Sachin Pilot calling the decision ethically wrong.
“The BJP government is trying hard to give Pt Deendayal Upadhyaya a status equal to Mahatma Gandhi. Such decisions reduce the importance of the national emblem,” Pilot said.
In the past, government letterheads have occasionally featured the image of Mahatma Gandhi alongside the national emblem.
“There is nothing illegal in this, as per the State Emblem of India (Prohibition of Improper Use) Act 2005. But since Deendayal Upadhyaya was a Hindutva ideologue, this move could be perceived as the state going against the ideal of secularism enshrined in the constitution,” Prateek Kasliwal, a lawyer at the Rajasthan high court said.
Mahim Pratap Singh is a freelance journalist.