Gujarat Congress at the centre of a row over ad campaign

Press Trust of India
Nov 27, 2012 at 04:22am IST

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Ahmedabad: Congress's Gujarat unit was at the centre of a row on Monday over a picture it used for a poll advertisement on malnutrition in the state amid allegations it was 'lifted' from a website of a Christian organisation depicting a Sri Lankan child.

Gujarat Congress party's "Join hands for change" advertisements which appeared in some newspapers and posted on its website claims that 45 per cent of children in the state were malnourished. A photograph in the ad also showed a malnourished child in the arms of a woman.

The social media, however, went abuzz with claims that the picture of the skinny and malnourished baby was, in fact, a victim of flood in Sri Lanka which was lifted from the web site of a Christan organisation called Amyand Park Chaple (amyand.com) with one pro-BJP website even providing 'Link' to view the original picture.

Gujarat Cong at the centre of a row over ad campaign

Gujarat Congress party's "Join Hands For Change" advertisements claim that 45 per cent of children in the state were malnourished.

Finding itself in an awkward situation, the Congress in an effort to counter the BJP charge, alleged that the ruling party was deflecting the main issue of malnutrition. "The photograph is symbolic and rather than focussing on the picture, the BJP should counter the figures given in the advertisement," said Siddharth Patel, in-charge of Gujarat state Congress' poll campaign while talking to newsmen.

"Around 45 per cent of children in Gujarat are malnourished. Can BJP deny this fact?", Patel asked. The advertisement says: "visit any community health centre or primary health centre, it is the same picture where staff is missing, be it specialist, doctors or support staff". The BJP has seized the opportunity to take on the Congress, calling the poll ad a "dishonest campaign".

"The Congress campaign in Gujarat has not been based on facts at all. It has been based on absolute fictitious facts," BJP leader Balbir Punj said in New Delhi. In Ahmedabad, BJP spokesperson Jagdish Bhavsar demanded an apology from the Congress. "This is one of the proofs of Congress party's character which has resorted to malign Gujarat by spreading lies for the past so many months. They should apologise to the people of the state for showing wrong photographs," he said.

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