Badal Rolls Out Red Carpet for Modi Rally in State
By Harpreet Bajwa - CHANDIGARH
Published: 08th Dec 2013 10:12:30 AM
BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi’s Fateh Rally in Punjab is expected to sound the poll bugle for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections and the SAD-BJP government is sparing no effort to ensure the notes are heard loud and clear.
Close to five lakh people are expected to show up for the rally on December 21 at Jagroan near Ludhiana. Guarding the 100-acre venue would be 8,000 policemen. Security will be paramount as leaders from the constituent parties of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), chief ministers of various BJP-run states and top leadership of both parties is expected to attend the mega event. BJP national president Rajnath Singh is among the speakers. Modi will make his way to the state after addressing a rally on December 20 at Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh.
Three podiums would be erected at the venue—one for VVIPs, from where they will address the gathering, other for VIPs and the third one for entertainers (traditional folk singers knows as dhadis). Besides this, four giant LED screens will be put up across the venue for the convenience of the crowds.
Speaking to The Sunday Standard, Dr Daljeet Singh Cheema, secretary of Akali Dal and the main coordinator for the rally said, “The parties will also be organising langars (community kitchens) for the public attending the rally. Arrangements for tea and drinking water will be in place. One langar will be set up at the venue and others on the roads leading to the rally,” adding, “Traffic arrangements will be made so that there is no inconvenience to the public. Parking spaces spread across 200 acres shall be provided.”
According to him, both the Akali Dal and BJP were already holding meetings to mobilise crowds. Word was being spread through social media. “Modi is a charismatic leader and we are expecting people from all over the state to show up to hear him. Our target is a gathering of five lakh people,” Cheema said.
The rally would be covered live by television channels. The state government is also looking at tie-ups with radio channels for live broadcast. Hoardings announcing the event will also be put up across the state.
Police sources said Punjab Director General of Police S S Saini chaired a meeting of senior police officers recently where it was decided that around 8,000 police personnel, including commandos, special weapons-and-tactics teams, snipers and quick-reaction teams will be put on duty.
The rally area will be divided into three high-security zones. Around 100 senior police officers will also be deployed, including one Additional Director General of Police who will be the overall head at the venue. Eight Inspector Generals of Police (IGPs) and 15 Deputy Inspector Generals of Police (DIGs) will also be on duty.
Two or three temporary helipads will also be constructed at the venue to facilitate landing of VVIP helicopters, including that of Modi. The Punjab Police will install CCTVs, jammers and other security related equipment at the venue.
Said BJP leader and Kisan Morcha Secretary S S Grewal, “Preparations are underway for the mega rally. The location is Jagraon, 29 kilometres away from Moga, as it is the geographical centre of Punjab.” He predicted that the rally would be the biggest so far in the country as people would turn out in large numbers.
Incidentally, Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal shares a good rapport with his counterpart from Gujarat. When Modi attended the Pathankot rally a few month ago, Badal is reported to have told Modi, “We will organize a not a rally but a ralla for you. Just give us time and a date.” Badal had gone to attend the latest swearing-in-ceremony of Modi as Gujarat Chief Minister in Ahmedabad and Modi had returned the favour by showing up for Badal’s swearing-in-ceremony in Mohali last year.