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Festival damper on Modi rally

Hazaribagh, April 8: Narendra Modi will be meeting Hazaribagh voters five days late, while keeping his date with the Jamshedpur electorate on April 10.

The BJP’s prime ministerial candidate, who was supposed to address a rally at Matwari grounds in Hazaribagh town on April 10, will now come on April 15 as the party had to change the schedule in view of Ramnavami. The district administration had asked the BJP to defer the NaMo rally as akharas celebrating the religious festival will hit the streets with processions on both April 9 and 10.

“Yes, we had to change the date of Narendra Modi’s rally on account of Ramnavami. The meeting will now be held at the same venue but on April 15. Committees have been formed to look after preparations,” Suman Kumar Pappu, media in-charge of BJP, confirmed to The Telegraph.

Earlier, the Lok Sabha election date in Hazaribagh constituency, where the BJP has fielded sitting MP Yashwant Sinha’s son Jayant Sinha, had to be changed from April 10 to April 17 as it was clashing with Ramnavami. Yashwant Sinha himself had written to the Election Commission.

The date change has brought relief to district officials, who otherwise would have been hard-pressed to manage two big events on the same day.

“Yes, it would have been very difficult for us to depute police personnel for both the rally and Ramnavami processions at the same time. Hence, we had told the BJP leaders to consider changing the dates,” said a district official.

In comparison, the BJP has kept its plans unchanged in Jamshedpur, where Modi will address a rally on April 10.

Hazaribagh superintendent of police Manoj Kaushik said that proper arrangements had been made to ensure peaceful Ramnavami celebrations.

“Apart from CRPF and RAF personnel, we have formed several bike squads to patrol various areas in Hazaribagh town during the festival. CCTV cameras have been installed at strategic points to keep an eye on troublemakers,” he added.

Deputy commissioner Sunil Kumar has asked the akharas to not carry any political banner in their processions.

On poll preparations, Kumar said as some areas of Hazaribagh would go to polls on April 10 as part of Koderma constituency, they have already taken care of sending EVMs.

“Barkatha, which is in Hazaribagh but falls under Koderma constituency, will vote on April 10. We have distributed EVMs along with first-aid kit among polling parties,” he added.