| A road roller pressed into service to level the ground at Gandhi Maidan. Picture by Deepak Kumar |
The historic Gandhi Maidan, witness to many an uprising, is slowly donning the look to host the “mother of all rallies”.
The ground has turned into a centre of a whole lot of activities — loudspeakers being fitted with underground wiring, stages given shape, makeshift washrooms put up — with all eyes set on the Adhikar Rally on November 4. The rally, the first being organised by the JD(U) since Nitish Kumar came to power in 2005, will press for the demand of according special status to Bihar. State party chief Bashishtha Narayan Singh promised it would be bigger than Jaiprakash Narayan’s 1975 rally.
Speaking from Ara, Singh said: “I do not want to talk about numbers. You will be able to see it for yourself but this rally will be bigger than that of JP’s. It is related to issues that concern every resident of this state. It is unique and different from all other rallies organised in the past.”
On Tuesday morning, labourers were seen paying attention to every inch of the 62-acre ground. While work is on to complete around 50 makeshift accommodations for JD(U) workers, the stage from where the chief minister and top Dal leaders would address the rallyists is in its final leg.
If four temporary washrooms are being built for VIPs behind the stage, around 50 are coming up around the ground for people who would visit Gandhi Maidan on Sunday.
The party is also eyeing the rally as an opportunity to bring in youths. Om Prakash, the state JD(U) youth vice-president, said: “A large number of youths, including college students, will take part in the rally. It is going to be the mother of all rallies.”
Road rollers have been put to use to ensure the turf is uniform and grass cutters are being used to prune the maidan. To ensure that every visitor is accommodated at the ground, bamboos are put in as barricades at several points.
If accommodating all is important, ensuring they do not miss out on the leaders’ speeches is equally crucial. Ensuring that is Lucknow-based sound system company Tayal. When The Telegraph visited Gandhi Maidan on Tuesday, officials of the company were found busy fixing the loudspeakers. “Six hundred of 800 loudspeakers have been fitted around the ground. Only a few people will be near the stage and most would be far away. They would hardly be able to see the leaders. So it is very important that everyone can hear them properly,” said Ramesh Yadav, an employee of the company.
To see to it that the wires are not disturbed, the company is laying them underground. “There is a tendency of opposition parties to disrupt the show by cutting wires or pulling them when leaders speak on the stage. That is the reason we have gone for underground wiring,” he said.