Ahmedabad: A dash of saffron in Gujarat has opposition parties seeing red. Bus stands across the BJP-ruled state are being repainted in a shade that parties like the Congress allege is politically loaded.
Over two dozen bus stands in Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar, which used to be red, have gone saffron and the state-run road transport corporation says many more will follow over the next few days.
Besides government resources, this makeover is also using money from the constituency development funds of lawmakers.
“By putting saffron on all bus stands the BJP government is promoting its communal agenda. They are appeasing the prime minister (Narendra Modi) by painting the town saffron,” said Congress leader Manish Doshi. He also alleged corruption and favouritism in contracts.
The state government has rubbished the allegations. It says the choice of colour was not driven by ideology but logic. “Had we used some dark colour, the visibility at night would be doubtful. So we have used a colour that has good visibility in the dark,” said state Transport Minister Vijay Rupani.
“The Congress is raking up a non-issue,” he alleged.
But critics say the lakhs of rupees being spent on repainting the bus stands could also have been spent on improving services.
The national auditor had criticized the state road transport cooperation for failing to provide facilities at the bus terminus.
Some commuters are also unimpressed by the spruce up. “They are spending money on bus stands but look at the state of our buses – seats are all in bad shape…timings are erratic,” said Rakesh, a commuter.