Bhopal: Shopkeepers told to put up saffron sign boards | bhopal | Hindustan Times
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Bhopal: Shopkeepers told to put up saffron sign boards

Shopkeepers in one of Bhopal’s prime localities have been asked by the civic body’s chairman to put up signboards depicting freedom fighter Chandrashekhar Azad and the ruling BJP’s patriarch Pt Deendayal Upadhyay, triggering allegations of attempts to saffronise the capital city.

bhopal Updated: Jun 12, 2016 19:13 IST

Shopkeepers in one of Bhopal’s prime localities have been asked by the civic body’s chairman to put up signboards depicting freedom fighter Chandrashekhar Azad and the ruling BJP’s patriarch Pt Deendayal Upadhyay, triggering allegations of attempts to saffronise the capital city.

Several saffron-coloured flex signboards have come up in the MP Nagar market after the verbal order was issued in March by the BJP-controlled civic body, sources said.

Some of the business owners, especially from the minority community, are said to be against the move by the Bhopal Municipal Corporation (BMC) chairman Surjeet Singh Chouhan, a close relative of chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan.

The Congress-led opposition accuses the Chouhan government of trying to forcing saffron ideology on the people of the state, a charge the BJP denies.

‘President of the shopkeepers’ association played a part in pushing through the plan’

A shop-keeper said the president of the shopkeepers’ association Jitendra Katiyar – an active BJP member –also played a part in pushing through the BMC plan.

In a meeting with the business community in March, Surjeet Singh Chouhan told the shopkeepers that they were required to replace their old signboards with a particular type of flex board in a rectangular shape.

Talking to the Hindustan Times on the condition of anonymity, some shopkeepers said that they were provided with the layout and design of the flex board by Chouhan.

They said the new signboards, costing about Rs 350 each, could adversely affect their business as those opposed to the saffron ideology might stop coming to their shops.

Katiyar, however, said the shopkeepers had given their consent and none of them were forced to install the new signboards.

BMC trying to saffronise the entire atmosphere of Bhopal: Cong corporator

Local corporator Mohammad Sageer of the Congress alleged that the since the BJP was in government and also dominated the BMC they were trying to saffronise the entire atmosphere of Bhopal. Sageer said that since the Congress controlled the ward, the BJP wished to saffronise the atmosphere in the area for obvious reasons. “They will gradually move to other areas too.”

Surjeet Singh Chouhan, however, denied playing any role in the issue. He said Chandrashekhar Azad and Pt Deendayal Upadhyay were national heroes and hence everyone was welcome to use their pictures to motivate themselves and others. “There is nothing wrong in it.”