The police in BJP-ruled Chhattisgarh have “inadvertently” made an example out of Union transport minister Nitin Gadkari while promoting road safety and the party is not amused.
The person in an illustration with the message — wear helmet and be safe — bears an uncanny resemblance to Gadkari, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Lok Sabha MP from Nagpur, Maharashtra.
The context is not too hard to follow. In October last year, the transport minister had courted controversy after cameras caught him entering the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) headquarters in Nagpur on a scooter without wearing a helmet in violation of traffic rules.
The posters with the ‘Gadkari’ toon have cropped up in Raigarh, 220 km east of capital Raipur, to inculcate road safety values among people during an ongoing traffic awareness week (January 11-17).
The have come from the Raigarh traffic police. The helmet in the illustration can be seen flying off from the man riding the scooter. The message was: wear the helmet tight.
The posters found their way to the backs of local auto-rickshaws and drew instant recognition. The police woke up soon after.
Soon, the district police asked all auto-rickshaws to remove the posters. "It was a mistake committed inadvertently by the sponsors who provided the traffic police department with the posters meant for generating awareness," Praful Singh Thakur, additional superintendent of police (Raigarh), told HT on Thursday.
"The illustration appears to resemble the Union minister and we have directed the traffic police to withdraw it without delay."
The local BJP leadership, however, is not amused. "Is this the way to instill the culture of road safety? Our senior leader has been insulted. We condemn it," said Roshanlal Agrawal, the BJP MLA from Raigarh.
"Those responsible should be suspended, the issue must be investigated and the guilty sacked."