BJP workers in Chandigarh on Tuesday used bricks with Narendra Modi’s name on them for a foundation-laying ceremony of a community centre to be built by the city civic body.
The Congress, which runs the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation, was outraged, and Mayor H C Kalyan said the bricks would be pulled out. He said the ceremony was not official, and the BJP had organised it “on its own”.
Municipal Commissioner Vivek Pratap Singh said there was no official sanction for the foundation-laying.
Fifty bricks etched with the name of the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate were used at the function in Sector 15, at a site where the corporation has declared an existing structure unusable and approved funds for a new building. The site is in a ward represented by the BJP’s Saurabh Joshi.
Councillor Joshi said, “Modi is known for his development initiatives, and we wanted bricks with his name for the foundation so that the work progresses at a rapid pace. Modiji’s name is synonymous with good governance and administration, and this is a gift of love for him. The bricks were purchased by residents; the municipal corporation did not pay for them.”
An infuriated Pawan Kumar Bansal, former railways minister and Lok Sabha MP from Chandigarh, however, said, “This is atrocious. The BJP is trying to promote its leader through work that is being undertaken by the municipal corporation. Modi is the chief minister of another state... this is against democracy.”
The BJP was free to do what it wanted at its party office, but had no right to hold the ceremony in what was public property, Bansal said.
Chandigarh Territorial Congress Committee president B B Bahl said the BJP had acted “unethically”, and had no right to promote Modi at a building which is to be constructed by the civic body.
Chandigarh BJP president Sanjay Tandon, however, rejected the Congress’s complaints over a “non-issue”. “It is a person’s faith. If he believes in Modi, and wants to start development work with his name, there is nothing wrong with that. The Congress is trying to generate a controversy without any reason.”