Policemen at the library grounds in Bokaro on Tuesday. (Pankaj Singh)
Bokaro, Sept: 25: For a moment, residents of Bokaro on Tuesday may have been under the false impression that Rahul Gandhi has arrived a day in advance, as the men in khaki rehearsed for the Congress leader’s visit, standing guard while a motorcade made its way from the aerodrome.
As many as 943 policemen, including the superintendent of police (SP), DSPs, inspectors and cops from Dhanbad, have been deployed within a 5sqkm zone from Bokaro aerodrome to the Indian Medical Association (IMA) Hall and library grounds at Sector V, where the Congress scion will address two meetings.
Besides, around 10 senior officers of the Special Protection Group (SPG) — which guards the Prime Minister and top officials — have been camping in the city, with sniffer dogs in tow, for the past three days. The district administration is promptly playing second fiddle to the SPG men. Bokaro deputy commissioner (DC) Sunil Kumar and SP Kuldip Dwivedi were seen directing the security personnel to follow the command of the central team.
The SPG officers have even prevented mediapersons from taking photographs of the venues where Rahul will visit.
Interestingly, when the DC had gone to inspect the library grounds today, one of the officers directed that his car be parked outside the premises.
Rooms at select hotels have been booked in the names of the officers and senior Congress leaders including Subodh Kant Sahay, Pradeep Balmuchu, Rajendra Prasad Singh and youth Congress president Rajiv Sathaw.
Rahul will arrive at Bokaro aerodrome around 11am and then head for IMA Hall, where he will address 300-odd senior Congress leaders including former as well as present MLAs and MPs, besides district unit presidents.
At library grounds, he will interact with 3,740 youth Congress leaders and discuss how to strengthen the party organisation. After lunch, he will fly to Ranchi en route to Delhi.
“Last minute changes in Rahul Gandhi’s schedule cannot be totally ruled out,” said state youth Congress president Jai Mangal Singh.
Bokaro SP Kuldip Dwivedi said necessary arrangements had been made to ensure foolproof security tomorrow.
A sense of anticipation among party workers is already palpable, as hundreds of Congress flags have been strung up in electric poles and temporary gates and banners are ready to greet Rahul along a 2km from the aerodrome to Sector V.
According to the police, movement of traffic from the aerodrome towards Ram Mandir will be diverted towards Sector III, Rajendra Chowk, Sector IV, while vehicles will not be allowed between Pathhar Katta Chowk and Sector V.
Traffic from City Centre towards Jai Jawan petrol pump will also be diverted towards BRL Bhavan while those coming from Chira Chas and Sector XI will have to take the City Centre route to Naya More.