NEW DELHI, India — An Indian lawmaker has appeared in Parliament dressed like Adolf Hitler with a toothbrush mustache and wearing a khaki coat with swastika symbols on his pocket and arm. His demand: More funds for the development of his state in southern India.
Naramalli Sivaprasa also raised his hand in a Nazi salute for the media on Thursday. His appearance did not trigger any protests from legislators.
He said he wanted to send a message to Prime Minister Narendra Modi not to follow Hitler. He complained that Modi had gone back on a promise to provide extra funds for his Andhra Pradesh state.
“He does not get the pulse of what people want and I want to urge him to not be like him (Hitler),” he said.
Modi’s government denies the charge.
In protest, Sivaprasa’s powerful regional group, The Telugu Desam Party, broke alliance with the Modi government in March. It also unsuccessfully tried to bring down the Modi government through a no-confidence motion last month in Parliament.
Sivaprasa is used to dressing up differently, like a farmer, a cattle herder, a Muslim cleric and a woman to press different issues.
Hitler remains a figure of fascination in India, where the Holocaust is not well known, and is widely seen more as a strong leader than a genocidal dictator. His book, “Mein Kampf,” can be found in many bookstores, and bootleg copies are regularly sold in the streets of New Delhi and other large cities.
In 2012, municipal authorities in the Indian state of Gujarat removed the sign for a men’s clothing store named Hitler. The sign — on which the letter “i” was dotted with a swastika — was removed after hundreds of complaints from both within and outside of the Jewish community.
A year earlier, an Indian network premiered a daily soap opera called “Hitler Didi,” or “Auntie Hitler,” in which the lead character is a young woman known in her locality as a strict disciplinarian who takes a no-nonsense attitude with her family.
There is even a brand of ice cream available throughout India named for the German dictator, which shows Hitler wearing a top hat with a swastika on it.
Times of Israel staff and JTA contributed to this report.