One lakh people turn up to hear the Prime Ministerial candidate speak
The BJP’s prime ministerial candidate M. Narendra Modi caught the attention of audience at the Nehru Maidan by starting his speech in Tulu.
Mr. Modi said: “Karavali Karnatakada enna aatmiya bandhule mokeda namaskara” (Greetings to my beloved people of coastal Karnataka). The crowd acknowledged it with cheers and claps.
He said when he visited Mangalore last year to campaign for the Assembly elections, the crowd was not large. However, this time the maidan was full of people. Mr. Modi said on his way he saw a “human wall” from the airport to the maidan.
The BJP leaders presented him with a memento of Yakshagana headgear, a whip used in ‘kambala’ (slush track buffalo race), and a mini statute of Sardar Vallabhabhai Patel. A metal piece was presented to him as a token for his proposed 182m tall statue of the Iron Man of India (statue of unity) to be built on the banks of the Narmada.
People watched Mr. Modi’s speech on six LED screens. Of them, four were inside the maidan (upper maidan), one was at A.B. Shetty Circle and another near the old clock tower.
A senior citizen dressed up like Mr. Modi among the audience caught the attention of many. The police were seen keeping a vigil over the crowd using binoculars from the town hall building, behind the stage, and at the front entrance to the lower ground.
Schools and colleges in the city closed down by 11 a.m. following an instruction from the district administration.
BJP district unit president Pratapsimha Nayak said more than one lakh people attended the rally. Mr. Modi arrived at the maidan from Davangere in a special flight and later left for Ahmedabad, he said.
Diversion in traffic at designated points created problems to many people between 2 p.m. until evening. The major roads were almost empty from 3 p.m. until evening due to traffic restrictions.