| Shatrughan Sinha campaigns for Hunkar Rally in Patna on Monday. Picture by Nagendra Kumar Singh |
The BJP’s state unit is making elaborate arrangements to feed the Hunkar Rally participants, while party leader Shatrughan Sinha downplayed patriarch L.K. Advani’s absence on October 27.
“Everybody is together in the party. Not only Advaniji, many other BJP leaders would not come to Patna for the Hunkar Rally on October 27 owing to prior engagements,” said Shatrughan, who is known to be close to Advani and had not attended the party’s Goa conclave after initially expressing reservation over Narendra Modi being declared as the prime ministerial candidate.
Sinha is the BJP MP from Patna Sahib, where the rally is scheduled. “Advaniji is a father figure for BJP like Atal Bihari Vajpayee,” said Shatrughan, after flagging off a motorcycle rally at the party headquarters to drum up support for Sunday’s rally.
After planning to distribute more than 50 lakh invitation letters to people across the state, the party expects lakhs of people to attend the rally at Gandhi Maidan. Hence, it has planned to provide food (lunch) to the rallyists.
Patna Nagrik Manch, which has eminent citizens as members and is associated with BJP, has urged rally enthusiasts to bring three to four food packets, each of which must contain 10 to 12 rotis, dry vegetables and pickles, and drop it at 13 food stalls to be put up en route to Gandhi Maidan. Sources said the party is expecting to collect more than two lakh such food packets. Moreover, the party has decided to distribute more than 1.5 lakh food packets (containing chura, gur and curd) among the rallyists.
Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Nand Kishore Yadav, who is co-ordinating the rally preparations, said: “Patna Nagrik Manch has urged people coming from Patna and neighbouring districts to bring food packets and drop it at food stalls so that people arriving from far-off places can be provided food without any hassle.” He added that it is the first time that any political party is taking an initiative to provide food to rallyists.
Awadhesh Kumar Pandey, the state unit president of the BJP’s legal and legislative cell, claimed that around 20,000 lawyers from across the state are expected to attend the rally. The cell has made arrangements to distribute food packets and water among lawyers.
The food collection centres have been set up at Fraser Road, Dakbungalow roundabout, Mauryalok Complex, Exhibition Road, Ashok Rajpath and other places. The party has planned to install 150 toilets and an equal number of water taps at Gandhi Maidan. Accommodation has been arranged at Gandhi Maidan and at MLA Flats.