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Pay for a seat near Modi

Calcutta, Jan. 3: The state BJP has decided to collect Rs 1,000 each from people to book seats near the dais of Narendra Modi’s Brigade rally on February 7, cashing in on the marketability of the party’s prime ministerial candidate.

“We will start an online registration from January 8 for people aged between 18 and 40 years, seeking a donation of Rs 1,000 each from those who want to sit near the dais. We are sure Modiji’s supporters won’t mind donating such a meagre amount,” Bengal BJP president Rahul Sinha said at a news conference in Calcutta today.

Sinha said the state party would soon open a website where people could register for the rally. He said those who would not make the donation could also register.

“We want to get an idea of how many people want to attend Modiji’s maiden rally in Calcutta. Those who will make the donations will be allotted special seats near the dais so that they get a better view of our prime ministerial candidate,” Sinha said.

He said the party was yet to decide how many seats would be reserved.

“Let’s see how many people express their wish to make the donation,” he said, adding that a portion of the money would be used to organise the rally and the rest would go to the party fund.

The Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu units of the BJP had sought a donation of Rs 10 each from those attending youth conventions Modi had addressed last year. The money was donated to the Uttarakhand flood relief fund.

Sinha said today that invitation letters would be sent to 50,000 tea sellers across Bengal for the Brigade rally. He said the move was planned because the Gujarat chief minister had started his career as a tea vendor at railway stations.

Invites will also be sent to shopkeepers, college and university teachers and farmers.