Controversy surrounds BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi’s Wednesday road show in Vadodara, as its civic body gears up to renovate roads, re-paint paver blocks and police barricading the roads for security concerns.
While the authorities are preparing ground for the road show that is on Modi’s route to file his nomination — from Kirti Stambh to the district collector’s office in Vadodara, Congress has written to the Election Commission, seeking action against Modi for violating the Model Code of Conduct by using public money for an “extravagance in filing nomination” from Vadodara.
In a letter to the Election Commission, Congress has accused the BJP of damaging public property and newly constructed roads in the city by digging them up to erect barricades for Modi’s road show in Vadodara. The Congress has also demanded that the expense of the reconstruction of the entire road that has been dug up for barricading should be billed under the candidate expenditure for Modi as well as punishment for officers “responsible for favouritism”.
Narendra Ravat, the Vadodara city Congress president and the party’s mandated dummy candidate, who has written to the EC. said, “We have requested the EC to ensure that the city roads, which have been damaged by the enthusiastic authorities of the city at the behest of Modi, must be reconstructed at the cost of the BJP candidate and all officers responsible for negligence in discharge of their duty, resulting in the damage of public property to favour the BJP candidate be punished. They are clearly returning favours to a candidate under whose state administration these officers were given posting in Vadodara.”
Ravat has sought explanation from the officers through the EC on the approvals and provisions under which the barricades for Modi’s security have been put up. Ravat says that if security is a concern then the police should have prohibited Modi from conducting such a road show as no other candidate in the country has been provided such facility by the state to file their nomination.
“The EC has taken note of my complaint and there is no provision for this special treatment to a candidate by a local body,” Ravat said.
When contacted, Vadodara District Election Officer and Collector Vinod Rao said the work undertaken by VMC for security measures of Modi was as per the provisions of the statute.
“Whatever is going on as part of the security measures of Mr Modi is as per the provisions of the Election Commission of India. The provision is that the government agency can do this kind of expenditure and charge the expense to the party, instructing the same,” Rao said, adding, “Moreover, the BJP has already expressed willingness to bear the cost of the reconstruction. Mr Modi is entitled to Z+ security as per statutory provisions of the law and the police commissioner is bound by duty to ensure these measures.”
Commissioner of Police Satish Sharma said the department had requested the VMC to barricade the streets, through which Modi’s cavalcade is to pass. Speaking to The Indian Express, Sharma said, “Security is categorized according to the threat. So whoever faces that kind of threat will get that kind of security regardless of the person’s political affiliation. We had written to VMC to barricade the area to avoid law and order problems and enforce strict control during the road show. Special instructions have been issued for Mr Modi’s security from time to time, since there is a serious threat perception.”
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