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Dal MP hires train for rally activists

Motihari, Oct. 17: JD(U) leader and Rajya Sabha member Sabir Ali has booked a special train for Rs 9 lakh for the to and fro journey of party workers from Raxaul to attend the chief minister’s November 4 Adhikar Rally in Patna.

The business tycoon based in Mumbai, who is originally from Kanana Dumariya village near Raxaul in East Champaran, has also booked 82 buses to carry the party workers and supporters for the meeting at Gandhi Maidan. “I have tried to make these arrangements keeping in mind some earlier instances of people facing difficulties while travelling and falling ill during such rallies,” the MP told The Telegraph today.

Showing three tickets worth Rs 3,50,000, Rs 4,00,000 and Rs 1,50,000, respectively, Sabir said: “I have deposited an additional amount of Rs 4,50,000 for the special train to halt at Patna Junction.”

The train would leave Raxaul bordering Nepal around 4pm on November 3. It would stop at Ramgarhwa, Sugauli, Semra, Motihari, Chakia before reaching Patna via Muzaffarpur, Samastipur, Barauni and Mokama. “It will reach Patna on November 4 and leave the state capital for Raxaul the same evening after the rally,” Sabir said.

At present, East Central Railway (ECR) does not have any direct train from Raxaul to Patna. The special train booked by the Rajya Sabha member will take 11 hours to reach the state capital.

Sources said a health team comprising doctors and medical attendants would be on the train, while an ambulance equipped with all facilities would accompany those travelling in the buses between Raxaul and Patna. The buses have been booked from Raxaul and neighbouring Nepal. There would be facilities of food for the JD(U) workers tra-velling in the train. The workers travelling in buses would enjoy medical services all the way from Champaran to Patna and during the return journey.

According to a railway officer, there would not be any cap on the number of people travelling in the train. “Once an entire train is booked, there cannot be any limit on the number of passengers. A special train like this has 18 coaches with a sitting capacity of 90 people in each compartment,” he said.

The officer added that one has to pay Rs 8 lakh for an 18-coach train. “The amount is not charged according to the number of passengers. The fare is determined on the basis of the number of coaches,” an ECR source said. The railways would accord the number to the special train on the date of journey, the source added.

Sabir had resigned from the LJP last year, blaming party chief Ram Vilas Paswan of indulging in “nepotism” while appointing members. He joined the JD(U), which fielded him as its candidate for the Rajya Sabha.

Sabir’s is a quintessential saga of rags to riches. Few people, other than his parents, relatives and immediate neighbours in Dumaria, knew him till he went to Mumbai in search of fortune about 15 years ago. The Maximum City, however, did not disappoint him, giving him the maximum fortune for which he had left his home. Besides running hotels, he is into real estate and export business.

Sabir’s latest initiative has come as a welcome relief for several JD(U) workers in the region willing to take part in the rally. “The concern of our leader towards the safety and wellbeing of the Dal workers is in no way less important than arrangement of food and lodging facilities. The two things are only the basic requirements for the rally participants,” senior party leader Pramod Sinha said.

“Altogether 15 buses had to be hired from Nepal because of shortage of buses in our area,” said Amarendra Singh, the JD(U)’s youth wing general secretary and district in-charge of the November 4 Adhikar rally.

This is not the first time that a political leader has booked a special train for such rallies. Then railway minister Lalu Prasad had booked 35 special trains to bring RJD supporters from various parts of Bihar and Jharkhand for the Chetawani Rally in Patna on October 28, 2007. Former steel, chemical and fertilisers minister Ram Vilas Paswan had booked 27 special trains to bring LJP workers for the Sankalp Rally in Patna on November 28, 2007.