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Sithio gets invitation to rally

Ranchi, Dec. 22: As Narendra Modi held court in Mumbai today, an old man thousands of kilometres away in Sithio village on Ranchi outskirts, looked forward to hearing the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate live on December 29.

The senior citizen happens to be the father of Imtiyaz Ansari, one of the alleged bombers caught on the day of Modi’s Hunkar Rally in Patna on October 27.

BJP leader and Ranchi MLA C.P. Singh, with other party workers, visited Sithio village this morning and gave Kalimuddin Ansari of the minority-dominated village an invite for the Modi rally next week on Dhurwa grounds.

Tabiyat theek rahegi toh rally mein zarur ayenge. NIA ke afsaran pooch taach ke naam par mujhse gali galauz karte hain, isse taklif hoti hai (If I am well, I will certainly attend the (Modi) rally. It pains me when NIA officials use foul language while grilling),” said Kalimuddin Ansari, coughing and looking exhausted.

“Forget the past. Please come to the rally with your family. Modiji will usher in development. The entire village and community can’t be branded as terrorists if someone has committed a crime. We are with you,” Singh responded.

Singh apart, the state BJP today sent important party seniors — former Rajya Sabha member Ajay Maroo, spokesperson Kamal Khan and other minority faces — to Sithio, some 20km from the capital, to urge people to listen to Modi.

“We are inviting people for the rally as part of a statewide campaign, including Sithio,” Singh said.

Though Singh downplayed it, Sithio and Modi share a deep connect. The sleepy village was catapulted to national infamy when its residents Imtiyaz and three others were suspected to have allegedly planted the bombs in Gandhi Maidan, Patna, where Modi held his rally.

For 90 minutes, BJP workers led their NaMo Rath in Sithio, going door to door and distributing 400 invitation cards in Hindi and Urdu for the December 29 rally.