Ahead of Narendra Modi’s visit to Rajkot later this week, BJP workers have gone into overdrive, with some even pasting posters welcoming the Prime Minster on a replica of Ashoka’s lion capital pillar, installed on a traffic island in the city. The posters were seen pasted on the replica of the Ashoka Pillar — top of which is the lion capital, adopted as the national emblem — on a traffic island at District Panchayat Chowk, Race Course, Monday morning.
The posters had images of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani at the top with BJP’s election symbol lotus placed between them. A message written in Gujarati read: “We heartily welcome honorable Prime Minister Narendra Modi, honorable Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, honorable Deputy Chief Minister Nitinbhai Patel, who are coming to welcome flowing of Narmada water into Aji dam through Saurashtra’s lifeline-like SAUNI Yojana.”
The posters were ascribed to one Girish Parmar, a BJP worker attached with the party’s Rajkot district unit. The posters had Parmar’s photo at the bottom and identified him as a director in council of Gujarat state for Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme. The posters also bore BJP’s slogan of Sabka Sath Sabka Vikas and Rupani government’s promise to provide a transparent, sensitive, decisive and progressive government.
Parmar had fought the 2012 Assembly election from Rajkot (rural) constituency as a candidate of Gujarat Parivartan Party floated by former chief minister Keshubhai Patel. But, he had lost to Bhanuben Babariya of BJP. While Parmar could not be contacted despite repeated attempts, his wife Ramu said that posters had indeed been pasted by his team.
“He and his team had pasted some posters in the city two days ago to welcome the PM. However, I am not aware if they also pasted some on the Ashoka Pillar replica,” Ramu told The Indian Express. Devraj Sakhiya, president of Rajkot district unit of the BJP conceded Parmar was a worker of the party. “He is our worker and I am told he has pasted some posters in the city in his personal capacity to welcome the PM. However, I am not aware if he has pasted them on the Ashoka Pillar replica also as that falls in the jurisdiction of Rajkot city unit of the BJP. Nonetheless, I shall instruct him to desist from such activity,” said Sakhiya.
On the other hand, Kamlesh Mirani, president of Rajkot city unit of BJP said he disapproved of the posters on the pillar. “Not just Ashoka Pillar, we disapprove of any posters on private property without permission of respective owner. It is possible that Parmar might have assigned the work of pasting those posters to some workers and they might have stuck them on the Pillar,” opined Mirani.
However, the posters were removed in the afternoon after Kamlesh Patel, a sanitary inspector with the Rajkot Municipal Corporation (RMC) spotted it. “We spotted them a while ago and therefore, we have ordered our workers to remove them. We are trying to keep the city roads as clean as possible before the PM’s scheduled visit,” said Patel.