A massive political row erupted after an embarrassing blunder by Arvind Kejriwal-led Delhi government showing the Indian state of Sikkim as a separate country in one of its newspaper advertisements. The ad seeking job applications as volunteers for the Civil Defence Corps had clubbed Sikkim with neighbouring countries Nepal and Bhutan.
Sikkim Chief Minister Prem Singh Tamang took strong exceptions of the advertisement and said that it was objectionable for the proud Indian citizens of Sikkim and made them feel left out. He asked the Delhi chief minister to remove the advertisement and rectify the error.
"This advertisement published by the Delhi Government in various print media mentions Sikkim along with countries like Bhutan and Nepal. Sikkim has been a part of India since 1975 and celebrated the State Day just a week ago," CM Tamang wrote on Twitter.
Sikkim chief secretary SC Gupta wrote a letter to the Delhi government and said that the "offensive" ad must be withdrawn immediately since it is "immensely hurtful" to the people of the state. Gupta said that people of Sikkim take pride in being the citizen of India and the demanded the Kejriwal government issue a "suitable communique to assuage the feelings of the people of Sikkim."
Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal has responded to the gaffe. "Sikkim is an integral part of India. Such errors also cannot be tolerated. Advertisement has been withdrawn and action taken against the officer concerned," Kejriwal said.
Furthermore, a senior officer of Directorate of Civil Defence (HQ) has been suspended with immediate effect for publishing the controversial ad.
BJP attacks Kejriwal
The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party slammed Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal over the advertisement row. BJP National General Secretary Ram Madhav termed the ad a "shocking ignorance of Kejriwal", while the party's Delhi unit president Manoj Tiwari refused to believe this was just a "mistake".
Tiwari said that he was shocked as to how the government of Delhi made such a big mistake. "Sikkim is an integral part of India Flag of India.. what are you up to, Nation wants to know now!!" he wrote on Twitter in the caption of his video message on the issue.
BJP IT Cell head Amit Malviya said that "Arvind Kejriwal should apologise to people of North East, living in Delhi, who are proud Indians, for this insensitivity."