A full-page newspaper advertisement to boost the image of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has hugely amused the Trinamool Congress, which accused him of showcasing the works of the Bengal government to win elections.
The advertisement -- released by the Uttar Pradesh government -- focuses on the development works done by Yogi Adityanath's government over the last five years in the state, often seen as one of the most under-developed in the country. But the photographs meant to highlight the changes landed the party in controversy.
A chunk of the collage below the advertisement appears be a photo of Kolkata -- a flyover having the trademark blue-white paint and yellow taxis on it. Many social media users have identified the flyover as the 'Ma Flyover' in central Kolkata built by Mamata Bannerjee's government.
Two buildings by the same flyover in the ad have also been identified by social media users as those belonging to a five star hotel chain.
The Trinamool Congress, which beat the BJP overwhelmingly in the recently concluded assembly elections, had a field day. Scores of party leaders, workers and supporters tweeted, mocking the BJP and the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister.
Abhishek Banerjee, senior Trinamool leader and the nephew of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, posted a scathing comment.
"Transforming UP for Yogi Adityanath means stealing images from infrastructure seen in Bengal under Mamata Banerjee's leadership and using them as his own! Looks like the 'DOUBLE ENGINE MODEL' has MISERABLY FAILED in BJP's strongest state and now stands EXPOSED for all!" read his post, where he tagged both Chief Ministers.
Transforming UP for @myogiadityanath means stealing images from infrastructure seen in Bengal under @MamataOfficial's leadership and using them as his own!— Abhishek Banerjee (@abhishekaitc) September 12, 2021
Looks like the 'DOUBLE ENGINE MODEL' has MISERABLY FAILED in BJP's strongest state and now stands EXPOSED for all! https://t.co/h9OlnhmGPw
"Lol the image on the bottom left is from Kolkata - of the Maa Flyover. Zoom in & you can also see the iconic Kolkata yellow ambassador taxi on the flyover. "Transforming UP" means spending millions on newspaper ads around India & stealing pics of development in Kolkata?" tweeted party leader Saket Gokhale.
Senior leader Mukul Roy, who returned to the Trinamool from the BJP after the ruling party's spectacular victory, even targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Mr. @narendramodi is so helpless to save his party that other than changing CMs, he has also had to resort to using pictures of growth & infrastructure seen under @MamataOfficial's leadership, as his own.#BengalModel > #BJPRuledStatesModel Mr Modi? pic.twitter.com/USNOjrq03I— Mukul Roy (@MukulR_Official) September 12, 2021
A senior administration official -- Navneet Sehgal, the Additional Chief Secretary of the state's Information department -- retweeted an apology extended by the publisher.
A wrong image was inadvertently included in the cover collage of the advertorial on Uttar Pradesh produced by the marketing department of the newspaper. The error is deeply regretted and the image has been removed in all digital editions of the paper.— The Indian Express (@IndianExpress) September 12, 2021
The BJP pointed to the apology too when the Samajwadi Party ridiculed them over the advertisement. "When a party uses a lie to make accusations against others, it is clear they can see their defeat and like 'children', make mistake in haste . The truth is before you," read a rough translation of the party's tweet.
The Samajwadi Party had tweeted from its official handle, saying, "The Chief Minister's lie exposed again! Those who spend public money like water in advertisements, have no development work to showcase. So they are using photos from Kolkata. This is the BJP government, Number One in lying.And their days are numbered".
Assembly elections are due in Uttar Pradesh early next year, in which the BJP is seeking a second term in power.
But there are suspicions among a section of the state leaders that the Chief Minister's image has taken a beating over the handling of the second wave of Covid.
The thousands of bodies buried on the sandbanks of the river Ganga and others floating down it had made headlines across the world, amid reports of oxygen crisis and lack of health infrastructure in rural areas.
Added to this are murmurs of the Chief Minister's lack of accessibility, which had also been privately flagged by allies like Apna Dal, sources said.
The BJP is backing Yogi Adityanath, one of `the party's most prominent leaders.