Chief Minister Narendra Modi's photographs printed on T-shirts that were distributed to Gobind Utsav enthusiasts in Surat on the occasion of Janmashtami on Tuesday has sent the dissident BJP leaders in a tizzy.
Nearly 12,000 T-shirts with Modi's portraits on the rear side have been distributed to Surat's Govind Utsav Mandalis who organize the famous 'Matka phod', competitions -- an event in which a human pyramid is formed to reach up to a height of 30 feet to crack open a pot of butter-milk -- on the occasion of Janmashtami.
The episode evoked angry reactions from the Chief Minister's detractors in the ruling BJP as Modi was recently depicted as Lord Krishna in a poster in Saurashtra recently.
The Modi T-shirts distribution to the Govind Utsav Mandalis was the brainchild of C.R.Patil, onetime follower of the former Union Textiles minister Kashiram Rana, who has now crossed over to the Modi camp. A former Chairman of the Gujarat Alkalies and Chemicals Limited (GACL), Patil was also involved in the Rs 175 crore scam in the Diamond Jubilee Cooperative Bank of Surat.
Sources in Surat told HT that the distribution of Modi T-shirts could be Patil's way of getting closer to the Chief Minister with an eye on the Chorasiya assembly seat in the forthcoming elections.
"Patil is as publicity crazy as Modi. He would go to any extent to please Modi. Patil may even construct a temple dedicated to Modi's," BJP's dissident MLA Dhirubhai Gajera told HT over the phone from Surat
Patil, president of the Surat Govind Utsav Samiti, could not be contacted for his comments but sources in Surat said that such sycophantic acts by assembly ticket aspirants would increase now in the run up to the assembly elections due in December. Source in the city, however, revealed that a section of the Govind Utsav Mandalis refused to accept the T-shirts.