| The capacity crowd at Adhikar Rally on Sunday. Several JD(U) supporters listened to chief minister Nitish Kumar standing on nearby streets as there was no space inside Gandhi Maidan. Picture by Deepak Kumar |
A festive mood descended on the Patna streets on Sunday morning.
When the huge crowd, accompanied by their leaders, marched towards the historic Gandhi Maidan, for a moment it appeared that the reason behind the Adhikar Rally and the special status demand had taken a backseat.
The supporters cheered, shouted their lungs out, danced to the tunes of popular Bollywood beats, while their leaders joined them on foot.
The celebrations started on Saturday itself, with supporters arriving in colossal numbers from far-flung places in the state. They had stayed over at the official residences of the ministers. But the Sunday morning, for the lakhs who converged in the state capital, it was like a festival between Dussehra and Diwali.
To feel the mood of the supporters, even The Telegraph joined them. It was not an easy walk; most of the leaders walked fast to make way for others.
Around 10,000 supporters of Ashok Kumar Singh, the MLA from Rafiganj Assembly seat in Aurangabad district, walked while dancing to the tunes of several Bollywood songs, including Pal Pal Na Mane Tinku Jiya from the film Yamla Pagla Deewana, while crossing the Income Tax roundabout.
A DJ was playing the tunes from a mini truck. Every alternative minute, the volume of the music was lowered to allow the supporters give slogans in favour of their leader.
“The music will keep my people charged,” Ashok said.
Holding huge banners of their leaders, the crowd looked jubilant and enthusiastic. “Their energy level looks quite outstanding,” an onlooker quipped.
Most of the ministers, MLAs and MLCs walked down to the venue with their supporters and did not use the official cars. Most of them had rice, daal, and mixed vegetables before leaving for the mega JD(U) event.
Supporters of Ranvijay Kumar, the muscleman MLA from Goh in Aurangabad district, had a great time walking towards the Maidan. The supporters almost made one forget that the legislator was languishing in Beur jail with criminal charges. A supporter seated on a rickshaw was found playing Aaya Re Aaya Bodyguard from the film Bodyguard on his electric piano.
“The tune of the song suits the personality of our leader,” said Rupesh Lal.
Supporters of Izhar Ahmad, the MLA from Gaura Bauram, threw him in the air on their way to the Maidan. A supporter said this was the way of “showing respect and love to our leader”.
Rural works minister Bhim Singh looked fresh while walking with his supporters from Gaya, Aurangabad, Rohtas, Banka, Munger and Jamui districts. A supporter revealed the secret behind their freshness: a cup of herbal tea in the morning.
The minister, however, did not forget the reason behind the gathering. “It is a big day for every resident of Bihar and the Centre has to give special category status to the state. Look at the number of people on the road, have you seen anything like this before?” Bhim asked, swaying his head to the tune of the trumpet.
Several JD(U) supporters from Bhojpur district dressed up like Lord Shiva and Goddess Kali. “Both are symbols of destruction. If the central government does not fulfil our demand, it will be destroyed,” said the man dressed like Shiva.
Fifty women from Bettiah in West Champaran reached Gandhi Maidan while performing tribal folk dance, leaving many others amazed.
Tarari MLA Sunil Pandey and MLC Hulas Pandey, the brothers with criminal backgrounds, enjoyed an open jeep ride to the venue.