Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], April 27 (ANI): Storia Foods has decided to withdraw advertisement allegedly mocking Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi and stated that they had no political motive behind the advertisement campaign, Mumbai police sources said.
The sources also said that the Mumbai-based company did not file any complaint against vandalism at their office here during protest by Congress workers earlier in the day against the advertisement. They said the company has said that it was "withdrawing the advertisement from all our platforms".
Congress workers held a protest earlier in the day and "ransacked" the office of Storia Foods in Mumbai over the company's recent advertisement.
The Congress workers, who were not wearing masks in accordance with the COVID-19 protocols, raised 'Rahul Gandhi zindabad', 'Sonia Gandhi zindabad' slogans. They were carrying also party flags. Police had also reached the spot.
Mumbai Congress president Ashok (Bhai) Jagtap said only four-five people went to the company's office to talk.
"But the company staff replied arrogantly saying they know better how to advertise their products. After this, there was a ruckus. I do not support the ruckus. But, the approach of company staff was very bad. The advertisement is illegal and unethical. They apologized at the police station in writing. They also called me. They deleted the content from YouTube," he told ANI.
Nitin Sawant, Mumbai Youth Congress general secretary, who led the protest, said Storia Foods "mocked Rahulji and Soniaji in the video".
"We held a protest at the company's office. We went to the office but a person talked to us arrogantly. The incident happened in the heat of the moment. The company has apologized in the police station and they have withdrawn the video from YouTube," he told ANI.
Asked about the flouting COVID protocols and lockdown rules, Sawant said it was not a planned protest. "We will not tolerate this kind of mocking of our national leaders. However, I feel the only wrong thing from our side is (that) we went there amid the COVID situation. But, we were only a few people," he said.
BJP leader Kirit Somaiya told ANI that Congress members can take legal action over their objections but they should not have "threatened people".
He asked if Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray will take action against Congress workers for flouting COVID-19 guidelines and demanded their immediate arrest.
"There is no problem with the objection concerning Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi in the advertisement. Take legal action. But how can you beat and threaten people? This is not done. There is a lockdown. Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray uses foul language for the Opposition. Now, will he take action on it?" Somaiya asked.
He alleged that Shiv Sena workers had earlier beaten a retired Navy officer for sharing a cartoon.
"Since the Thackeray government came to power, there has been anarchy. Now the Mumbai Congress President has said he is proud of his party workers for burning the materials and records of an advertisement company. I would like to ask Chief Minister Thackeray and Home Minister Dilip Walse Patil why action has not been taken? They should be arrested immediately," added Somaiya.
BJP MP Manoj Kotak told ANI that if Congress has objections they can seek withdrawal of advertisement through the proper mechanism. He accused Congress of intolerance.
"If you have objections, you can demand that the company withdraw the advertisement. There are mechanisms for that. But ransacking the office and causing violence is not acceptable. Congress does not have any tolerance. When Congress uses bad language against the top BJP leadership including the Prime Minister they do not think twice." (ANI)