Kolkata, May 14 (IANS) A controversy erupted hours before BJP President Amit Shah’s rally here on Tuesday after banners and flexes of the saffron party leaders including that of Prime Minister Narendra Modi were removed from the roadside.
Shah is scheduled to hold a roadshow from central Kolkata’s Shahid Minar to Swami Vivekananda’s residence in north Kolkata’s Maniktala on Tuesday afternoon.
Just two hours before the roadshow, a large number of cut outs and flexes of Shah, Modi and north Kolkata’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate Rahul Sinha, were removed from a long stretch of Lenin Sarani.
BJP leaders accused the state administration of “resorting to hooliganism” to impede Shah’s rally and alleged that the state’s ruling Trinamool Congress activists were deliberately damaging the posters and cut outs while removing them.
“The Election Commission has given us permission to hold the roadshow. How is it possible that party banners and flags are not allowed on the road? Bengal government’s hooliganism is going on here. We will talk to the EC about this,” BJP General Secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya said.
Police claimed the drive was taken up under the direct instruction of the Election Commission, as the flexes were put up on state government properties without permission.
The BJP leaders and activists on the spot, however, claimed that Trinamool Congress activists were removing flexes in presence of police.
“If EC has asked them to do so, the personnel of the electoral body should be present on the spot. But these people are Trinamool activists. They are deliberately damaging the cut outs and flexes and throwing them on the roadside to damage them,” a BJP leader alleged.
When contacted, the Election Commission refused to comment saying they have “no specific update” on the issue.
“We do not have any specific update at this point. Please get in touch with us after 5.30 p.m.,” Deputy Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Amitjyoti Bhattacharya told IANS.