| JD(U) leader Anant Singh (sporting black shades) supervises Adhikar Rally preparations in Patna on Saturday.
Picture by Ranjeet Kumar Dey |
Patna, Nov. 3: They are known to be trigger-happy men before whom people shiver in fear. But on Sunday, these very men will try to play the perfect host to the thousands who descend on the city for Nitish Kumar’s much-vaunted Bihar Adhikar Rally.
Anant Singh, the feared JD(U) MLA from Mokama, was a busy man on Saturday as he supervised last-minute preparations across the city — putting up bamboo barricades and ensuring security details are in place.
“We have arranged for at least 3,000 vehicles and they will start pouring in to the state capital from 11pm tonight. More than one lakh people will be present at Gandhi Maidan tomorrow for the rally from my constituency. I have to take care of them so that they don’t face any problems,” Anant Singh, also known as the “don of Mohakah taal”, told The Telegraph.
At his under-construction shopping complex on Frazer Road, more than 100 cooks are working round-the-clock.
“It is a vegetarian meal but there are enough dishes. The whole complex has got all facilities, including proper drinking water. The complex has enough space for people to rest. There are many flats in the building nearby which have been taken to lodge the visitors,” an aide of Anant Singh said.
“‘Poori’, ‘aloo bhujiya’, ‘chawal’, ‘daal’, ‘raita’, ‘achaar’, ‘gobhi ka subzi’…… sab hai,” Anant Singh said.
But even the mighty fall prey to human frailties. The Mokama strongman was curious about preparations being made by other party members.
“Aur kahi gaye the kya (Have you been to other places)? I think my preparation is the best,” he said with a smile on his face.
At the Board Colony area in Shastri Nagar, JD (U) MLC Hulas Pandey too is busy. His elder brother Sunil Pandey is the party legislator from Tarari in Bhojpur district.
Both of them, again, are said to be musclemen suspected to be involved in the murder of Ranvir Sena chief Brahmeshwar Singh ‘Mukhiya’ earlier this year.
“I am a strict vegetarian but I will be serving chicken to my guests. Today, 300 quintals of chicken have been brought and will be prepared as more than 50,000 people are expected to reach by night. By tomorrow morning another 50,000 people are expected to come from all over Bhojpur district. Tomorrow, at least 500 quintals of chicken will be served in addition to rice, paneer, dal and raita. There are many flats in the area which are empty and they have been taken up for lodging purposes,” Hulas Pandey said.
An aide of his, who was taking care of the preparations, appeared to have the same concern as that of Anant Singh. “Have you seen the preparations of other leaders? I think we are doing a far better job,” he himself declared.
At Gandhi Maidan, policemen as well as workers were busy planning and working to ensure that everything works like clockwork on Sunday.
A team from the bomb squad was seen walking along with sniffer dogs checking all corners of the main stage and the ground.
“The good thing is that the weather is pleasant or else it would have been hell,” a police constable said.
Sound technicians are also busy with their equipment. “The biggest nightmare is the sound going blank. It is a testing time for us and we are checking the sound system repeatedly,” a technician said.
At least 10,000 additional security personnel have been brought in to take care of the law and order scene for the big day.
The city too wears a fortified and green look with workers barricading many roads and some leaders still busy putting up posters by the roadside.
Ministers are also busy with chalking out last-minute details. At the official residence of industries minister Renu Devi, a huge pandal has been erected on the lawns and green carpets are being rolled out.
The JD (U) office on Beer Chand Patel Path was teeming with visitors, not all of them quite sure what tomorrow’s mega-show is all about. “I have come from Sitamarhi to attend the rally,” said Anil Kumar, a farmer. “Bahut din baad Patna aane ke chance mila free mein toh aa gaya (I got a chance after a long time to come to Patna for free so I came),” he said.