Ahead of the second National Handloom Day on August 7, the BJP has jump-started the celebrations with a social media campaign #IWearHandloom.
The handloom industry is among the top employment generators in India after agriculture, with more than an estimated 43 lakh people engaged it. Of this, 78 per cent are said to be women, whom the BJP's campaign is meant to support. The idea is also to focus on India's rich heritage and culture with regard to handloom and weaving.
The party's campaign was to include posting on social media pictures of people wearing handloom. "Handloom is both style and grace" said Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje, while Union Textiles Minister Smriti Irani urged youngsters to join the #IWearHandloom campaign. Puducherry Lt Governor Kiran Bedi posted her handloom look and said she supported Indian weavers. CEO of NITI Aayog (National Institution for Transforming India), Amitabh Kant said he was proud to be in his handwoven jacket and posted a picture, while MoS Power, Piyush Goyal thought it was a great initiative. Former foreign secretary Nirupama Rao posted had a picture of herself and her grand daughter in handloom.
Even amidst this campaign, the party has found it hard to resist attacking the Congress. The BJP has tweeted, though not as part of the campaign, photographs of two women, predictably in handloom sarees. One was of former Gujarat chief minister Anandiben Patel and the other of former Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit. The caption said, "One is 75-year-old Anandiben who decides to give up power, and the other, 78-year-old Sheila Dikshit who is attempting to gain power."