Gujarat government in a spot over road safety week's tagline

Thursday, 9 January 2014 - 1:26pm IST | Place: Ahmedabad | Agency: DNA
Government is now mulling to write Pehle Aap in the tagline in Hindi and retain the initial line in English.

‘When on road, always say Pehle Aap’ goes the tagline of this year’s road safety week.

However, given the mercurial rise of the Aam Aadmi Party — commonly known as AAP — the state government is in a fix as most BJP officials see this as free publicity for the newborn party.

As per the theme, citizens will be convinced to allow others to use the road and think about others before putting themselves. Hence the tagline, Pehle Aap! The theme emphasises the urgent need to sensitise commuters about how to drive.

Now, here comes the tricky part. All the promotional materials — posters, leaflets, banners, advertisements, among others — will bear the name Aap. And, if sources are to be believed, then the Narendra Modi-led state government is busy finding solution to stop the indirect promotion of AAP, which has emerged as a strong contender for all the parties and is posing a serious threat to BJP’s plans of conquering the upcoming general elections.

“Since the theme is decided by the central government and conveyed to all the states, it cannot be changed. Thus, the state government is in a fix, as they can’t change it even if they want to. As a solution, they are considering to write Pehle Aap in Hindi and retain the initial line in English. In this way, Aap will not be read as AAP,” said a prominent citizen involved in the road safety celebrations for some time now.

The theme was declared by the New Delhi-based Road Safety Cell under the ministry of road transport and highways, Government of India. They issued a notification on December 6 and asked all the state authorities to design their respective road safety events as per the theme.

Generally, the road safety week celebration starts in the first week of January. However, that couldn’t happen in Ahmedabad as the city is hosting the All India Police Equestrian Meet on a grand scale. Hence, the road safety week would be celebrated after the event culminates on January 10. On being asked about the controversy surrounding the tagline, a senior police official refused to comment. He, however, claimed that the option of writing the last line in Hindi was still open.

“Since the theme is decided by the central government, I don’t want to comment on what it conveys. If the state government wants we can write a line in Hindi in all the publicity materials during the celebration,” said the official.

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