The Grand Old Party in the US has drawn a lot of flak for using the image of Lord Ganesha for a campaign with a tagline, “Would you worship a donkey or an elephant? The choice is yours.”
Democratic party in the US is represented by a donkey and Republican party’s logo is an elephant. The Fort Bend County in Texas posted an ad in local newspaper, Time India Herald, during Ganesh Chaturthi where it likened Lord Ganesha with the Republican party symbol and compared the same with the donkey from the Democratic party.
The Hindu American Foundation (HAF) sought clarification regarding its intentions for using the image of Lord Ganesha in the ad.
Rishi Bhatuda, HAF board member and Ford Bend County resident said, “While we appreciate the Fort Bend County GOP’s attempt to reach out to Hindus on an important Hindu festival, its ad — equating Hindus’ veneration of the Lord Ganesha with choosing a political party based on its animal symbol — is problematic and offensive.” He even said that such imagery which uses religious symbols for political parties should be avoided by any political party.
Republicans in Texas have since apologised for the ad. Claiming they wanted to reach out to the Hindu community and pay respect to the festival, Republican party Chairman Jacey Jetton said, “This highlights the difficulty in outreach that can be positive for one group but not for another in the same community. We offer our sincerest apologies to anyone that was offended by the ad. Obviously, that was not the intent.”