Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, January 5
The state BJP unit had claimed that five lakh people would turn up for the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Ferozepur rally, but it could hardly gather 5,000 people, proving to be a big embarrassment for the saffron party.
The BJP had claimed to have arranged 3,200 buses to ferry people from across the state to the rally venue in Ferozepur. The state leadership had allocated buses to each office-bearer of the party. Some constituencies were allocated about 60 buses.
From 3,200 buses to just 500
- The BJP had claimed to have arranged 3,200 buses to ferry people
- The leadership had allocated buses to each office-bearer of the party
- Sensing lukewarm response, BJP reduced the number of buses
- The parking arrangement at the venue was reduced to just 500 buses
However, sensing lukewarm response ahead of the PM’s rally, the party started reducing the number of buses that were to be pressed into service — so much so that the parking arrangement at the rally venue was reduced to just 500 buses.
Farmers’ organisations had been preparing for a stiff opposition for several days. They made announcements from village gurdwaras, asking people not to attend the rally. The cold wave and showers added to the BJP’s woes.
As a result, the tepid response was all too visible on Wednesday morning. The party could not gather enough numbers to fill the buses to their optimum capacity. “Even party leaders could not get much help from labour chowks,” said a senior leader of the BJP’s kisan morcha.
The BJP claimed the buses were stopped from reaching the venue. Sources, however, say the buses were indeed stopped, but the number was nowhere near the party’s claim of 3,000 buses.
Of the 65,000 chairs arranged for the rally, 30,000 were put upside down. Around 5,000 chairs were occupied. The cancelled rally has allowed sidelined leaders to question the main organisers of the rally and the party for giving undue importance to turncoats. BJP general secretary Jiwan Gupta, who was the incharge of the rally, could not be contacted in spite of repeated attempts.
Last week, state BJP chief Ashwani Sharma had claimed in a press conference that the party would gather five lakh people for the rally and it would be one of the biggest rallies in the Punjab’s history.
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