The Prime Minister’s chopper was among the star attractions for villagers who travelled great distances to hear him speak amid food and fanfare at Prabhat Tara Ground in Ranchi on Thursday. (Hardeep Singh)
It was a simply fascinating fair at Prabhat Tara Ground in Dhurwa, Ranchi, on rainy Thursday.
For the 50,000-odd people who swamped the venue of the Prime Minister’s maiden programme in the state capital in the afternoon despite sharp showers that lasted for 30 minutes from 11.50am, it was sheer joy of a kaleidoscopic carnival that flaunted everything from roasted groundnuts to hovering air machines, not to forget a Nagpuri-peppered speech, that mattered the most.
Around 15 minutes to noon, the distant drone of three IAF choppers brightened faces on the ground. The crowd scampered around clapping in excitement as the triplet touched down on the new campus of Jharkhand High Court with one of them carrying the First Citizen of India.
“Humko to helicopter dekhne mein accha lagta hai. Teen-teen ek saath hum kabhi nahi dekhe the (Helicopters fascinate me. I have never seen three together),” beamed Pradyuman Baraik, a BJP worker and farmer, who had come all the way from Mukunda, a village in Sisai block of Gumla district, some 70km from the Dhurwa venue.
Neighbour Devanand Giri echoed him. “Humlog to gaon mein rahte hai. Helicopter kabhi-kabhi dekhne ka mauka milta hai. Aaj teen dekhkar mann khush ho gaya (We are villagers. We rarely see helicopters. I was glad to see three together today),” said Giri.
If the IAF choppers were the height of attraction, the delight down below was the random food fair. From fruits like apple, banana and coconut to groundnut, golgappa, chole-bhature, ice cream, samosa and chow mein — it was a tempting sight for those who eat to pay attention.
“Bhid mein khane mein maza aata hai. Bhasan to TV pe bhi sun lenge. (Eating in a crowd is fun. If we just had to hear a speech, there is television),” said Aradhana Kerketta, a BJP worker who was among 25 women supporters from Simdega.
Gopal Sahu, who had come from Kairo in Lohardaga with 20 partly loyalists, couldn’t agree more. “Badam phorna aur bhasan sunne ka alag maza hai (It is great fun to crack groundnuts while listening to a speech),” Sahu said.
Charumani Oroan, the block president of BJP Mahila Morcha, claimed that the rainfall triggered gastronomic revelry.
“The sound system and LED TV went out of order. The pandal became overcrowded after the showers. We all were drenched. How could we not eat? Junk food and Modiji’s words in Nagpuri filled our hearts and stomach,” Oraon summed up their very important afternoon in Ranchi.
According to the IMD office in Ranchi, Dhurwa registered around 7.2mm rainfall, which was accompanied by winds at 25-30kmph. Some other parts of the capital soaked in up to 10mm. The half-an-hour heavy rain was followed by a drizzle for an hour, but spirits weren’t dampened.
“For the first time, the weather department's predictions came true. I wish I had my raincoat. We used chairs as umbrellas,” chuckled Subodh Singh, a Modi supporter.