Commuters caught in jam at Sakchi roundabout during BJP’s Abhaar Yatra on Monday. Picture by Bhola Prasad
Politicians spoke, pedestrians suffered.
The BJP’s Abhaar Yatra, held to thank party supporters for the mega success of prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi’s December 29 Vijay Sankalp Rally in the state capital, threw traffic out of gear at Sakchi in Jamshedpur on Monday.
Led by party MLA and former Assembly Speaker C.P. Singh, Monday’s rally started from Dimna Chowk in Mango around 10.30am. After traversing a distance of 10km, hundreds of BJP workers on motorcycles and armed with party flags converged at Sakchi roundabout — one of the busiest traffic islands in the city — around 11.30am for a public meeting.
Singh, BJP state spokesperson Amarpreet Singh Kale and former state party president Dineshanand Goswami were themselves perched atop an open trailer which served as the stage.
With the leaders showering praises on party supporters one after the another, vehicles almost came to a standstill between 11.30am and 12.40pm. Traffic went haywire at the roundabout, which witnesses nearly 3 lakh vehicles every day and acts as the link between the commercial hubs of Sakchi and Bistupur. Snarls were also witnessed in adjacent areas like Mango, Kadma, Sonari, Sidhgora, Agrico, Baridih, Golmuri and Telco.
Commuters were visibly displeased. “Politicians only know how to give big lectures. They have no concern for the masses,” said Uma Shankar Pandit, who got stranded on way to work at Tata Steel.
Traffic constables played mute spectators.
“We cannot do anything as the BJP leaders claimed to have taken permission from East Singhbhum district administration for the rally. We cannot exert force to disperse the rallyists,” said traffic DSP R.M. Sinha.
BJP district president Raj Kumar Srivastava acknowledged that the rally caused huge inconvenience to commuters alike, but said they had no other option. “But we were not insensitive to the common people’s plight. We cut down on the duration of our speeches to finish the meeting quickly,” said Srivastava.
He further claimed that they had got written permission for the rally from Dhalbhum SDO Prem Ranjan.
When asked, Ranjan feigned ignorance about prior knowledge of any meeting at the Sakchi roundabout.