Indian Express

Chai pe Charcha gets police protection, EC officials to check on poll norm violation

Last time on February 12, the Chai pe charcha lasted for about two-and-a-half-hour. Tweet This
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Last time on February 12, the Chai pe charcha lasted for about two-and-a-half-hour. (PTI) Last time on February 12, the Chai pe charcha lasted for about two-and-a-half-hour. (PTI)

Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s second leg of “Chai pe Charcha”, which is to take place on Saturday across 1,500 places in the country, managed to get the mandatory police clearance in Vadodara late on Friday evening.

However, in a meeting of the District Election officers on Friday, it was decided that the nodal election officers of the model code of conduct team would videograph the event to check on any poll norm violation.

With the code of conduct in place, the police department examined the case to ensure that the the event does not violate any election guidelines. The event, which is to be held at a local tea stall in Fatehgunj in Vadodara, will see Modi discussing issues of women empowerment. The police have also agreed to station local officers at the venue to ensure law and order.

Late on Friday evening, the Vadodara police granted permission to volunteers of Citizens for Accountable Governance (CAG) — the NGO that is supporting Modi’s candidature for the Prime Minister’s post. Commissioner of Police Satish Sharma said, “We received the application for the permission to hold the event and have examined it before granting the permissions as it does not violate the code of conduct.”

Tushar Shukla, a CAG volunteer, said, “Last time on February 12, the Chai pe charcha lasted for about two-and-a-half-hour. So accordingly, our team members have sought police permission for about three hours for Saturday evening.” Shukla said that the event would start at around 5.30 pm, in which Modi will address audiences across 1,500 cities via a video conference and address the issue of women empowerment.

Gujarat Minister for Power and Energy Saurabh Patel will be present at the event in Vadodara. Shukla said, “The police have assured us that officers will be deployed at the event to ensure order, from 2 pm onwards. We will put up our banners and video conferencing devices early morning on Saturday.”

Officers of the Fatehgunj police station said that they received instructions to ensure that no banner or BJP flags were put up around the road outside the de-marked tea stall in the city. Party sources said caution is being maintained to ensure no violation of the code of conduct occurs. “We will not put up any hoarding or banner. Even at the event, the campaign material will be restricted to the venue itself,” a party worker said.

Tea vendor Sanjay Rana, who has been chosen for the event, said, “I’ve been asked to be ready to host the event, but all arrangements will be taken care of by the party and the volunteers. They have not asked me to stock any milk packets or snacks so far. They said they would arrive on Saturday morning and put up banners at the stall themselves.”

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