Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation seals Modi’s chai pe charcha venue


AHMEDABAD: The venue of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s much discussed ‘chai pe charcha’ web broadcast – Iskcon Ganthiya tea shop – has been sealed since August 5.

The Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation’s estate department found the structure to be illegal and the cause of traffic clutter. The customers apparently parked their vehicles in a haphazard manner. On at least two occasions, AMC tax inspectors had visited the shop requesting the owners to produce approved building plans and ownership details. “The owners could not produce any of the documents and we had to seal the premises,” said a senior AMC official.

In February 2014, ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, Modi’s election campaign team – Citizens for Accountable Governance (CAG) – chose the shop as the venue for the ‘chai pe charcha’ broadcasts. CAG used a unique combination of satellite, DTH, internet and mobile technologies to relay the interaction of Modi with voters, at 1,000 tea stalls identified by the BJP in 300 cities and towns across the country. These included 61 locations in 22 cities and towns in Gujarat. Iskcon Ganthiya featured pictures of Modi with earphones, engaging with people via giant screens. “The traffic issue was getting problematic, even though a parking zone was earmarked nearby,” a senior AMC estate officer said. “The shop is located just opposite the Karnavati Club on the access lane to the service road.”