Ahead of PM Narendra Modi’s visit to Vadodara on October 22 to inaugurate the Vadodara International Airport and participate in an event for the physically-challenged, the Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) seems to have gone into an overdrive to welcome Modi on his maiden visit since taking oath as Prime Minister in 2014. On Tuesday evening, the VMC put up hoardings, along with Smart City and Swachh Bharat logos, with a catchphrase saying, “Chappan Ka Seena Hai, Sar Utha Kar Jeena Hai” (Have a 56-inch chest, hold the head up high).
The hoardings had photographs of PM Modi, Gujarat CM Vijay Rupani, Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel. They also ascribed various attributes to Modi as “observer, efficient, arduous, competent leadership, ambitious, intellectual, technocrat and visonary”. The hoardings — signed by Municipal Commissioner Vinod Rao, Standing Committee Chairman Dr Jigisha Sheth, Deputy Mayor Yogesh Patel and Mayor Bharat Dangar — were put up across the city, including Karelibaug, Alkapuri and Genda Circle.
Vadodara Municipal Commissioner Vinod Rao told The Indian Express, “I have examined the hoardings and I have instructed (my team) that we will avoid anything that has political connotations. We will replace the hoardings.” Sources told this paper that Rao held a meeting with VMC officials late Tuesday evening to review the hoardings that officials said were approved by two members holding “public office” in the VMC.
“The officials of the Land and Estate (Commercial) Department, which issues permissions for putting up hoardings, said the VMC had allocated spaces in various areas of the city to put up hoardings, but did not “check” the contents of the same. An officer said, “The hoardings were internally designed by the publicity team and we have not cross-checked the content.”
Standing Committee Chai-rman Dr Jigisha Seth said she was “not aware” of any hoardings put up to welcome PM Modi. Seth said, “I am not aware about the message or the hoardings. However, we shall discuss it and look into the matter.”