GANDHINAGAR: Distribution of saffron coloured bicycles to backward caste girl students by the Gujarat government was criticised by the Congress as "political propaganda", while the ruling BJP called it a "safety measure" for better reflection at night.
Instead of the standard black colour, the BJP-led Gujarat government distributed orange (saffron) coloured bicycles to backward caste school girls under their ongoing scheme.
The revelation came when Congress MLA Arunsinh Rana asked a question related to a government scheme about bicycle distribution during the ongoing budget session in the Gujarat Assembly today.
Rana asked the government to give details about how many applications it received in Bharuch district during 2013-14 for bicycles to backward caste girl students.
Answering this question, Gujarat's minister for social justice and empowerment Ramanlal Vora claimed that a total of 1,703 applications were received during that period.
Among these, 1,521 applications were approved and bicycles were given to all 1,521 girls, he said.
In his subsequent question, Rana asked the minister to give details about the colour of these bicycles.
In his reply, Vora said that all these bicycles were of orange or saffron colour instead of the standard black colour.
"Orange or saffron colour gives better reflection than black colour at night. Thus, when these girls drive these bicycles at night, other vehicles can detect their presence easily. To ensure their safety, we have given orange colour bicycles instead of black colour bicycles," Vora replied.
Since the BJP is associated with the saffron colour, many Congress MLAs started shouting in the house, claiming that it is a "political propaganda".
Congress MLA Shailesh Parmar took a dig at Vora's explanation by asking him if the BJP-led Gujarat government plans to paint all bicycles sold in Gujarat in the saffron colour.
In his reply, Vora denied any such move and said, "Vehicles and bicycles are sold in many different colours. Thus, it is up to the people to choose the colour of their bicycle. The government has nothing to do in it".