Actor Kirron Kher, the BJP’s candidate from Chandigarh, landed in the city amidst black flags being shown, stones being pelted and protests in different parts of the city. Kher’s candidature has met with protests in a section of the BJP with a vociferous demand for a local leader to be fielded. The area near the BJP office in Sector 33 has been turned into a fortress with barricading on the roads and heavy police presence.
Kher was named as the candidate Saturday night ahead of three local aspirants — party president Sanjay Tandon and former MPs Satya Pal Jain and Harmohan Dhawan. The agitated supporters held protests at several places.
The protesters waited at the Sector 29-31 roundabout with black flags to wave at Kher on her way from the airport to the BJP office in Sector 33. Sensing trouble, the police diverted a few vehicles carrying Kirron and her husband Anupam Kher as well as senior party leaders to an alternative route.
However, the vehicles of other BJP workers who had gone to welcome her were pelted with stones. Amit Rana, president of the BJP youth wing, who was caught in the melee, said some of their cars were damaged because of the stone pelting. Protesters laid seige on the road leading from the airport to Sector 29-31 roundabout, checking vehicles before letting them pass.
As Kher reached the BJP office there was complete chaos.
Several BJP leaders, including Harmohan Dhawan, were conspicuous by their absence. Party workers jostled with each other to be able to get close to her. Such was the situation at the party office that it was difficult for her to even walk from one room to the other. She was then taken to the conference room and the door locked.
Three local leaders, who had resigned from their posts after her candidature was announced, withdrew the same and agreed to support Kher. District president Bhajan Singh Maru said although they wanted the ticket for a local leader, after seeing the manner in which protests were held they decided to extend support to Kher. He said while black flags could have been shown, pelting of stones was uncalled for.
Meanwhile, protests continued both inside and outside the party office. Protesters carrying black flags shouted slogans asking Kher to return. When her husband Anupam Kher went out of the party office, eggs were thrown at his car.