A vaastu compliant stage that is 100-feet long, astrologers propitiating the gods and invitations sent through social networking sites -- the BJP has pulled out all stops to make its prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi’s maiden rally in Uttar Pradesh at Kanpur October 19 a success.
And the spade work, party sources say, has been “unprecedented”.
Astrologers have been roped in to propitiate the gods to ensure a hassle-free rally and vaastu experts have been enrolled to “give the right direction” on the stage formation.
The 100-feet long and 30 feet wide main stage will hold the national leadership of the BJP including Mr. Modi and party president Rajnath Singh, while two side stages are being erected to accommodate the state leadership and other office bearers, BJP city chief Surendra Maithani told IANS.
Despite hassles in finalisation of the venue, getting necessary permissions from the district administration and working on security, the state unit of the BJP is working overtime to ensure that detractors take note of Mr. Modi’s popularity.
Special teams have been formed to rope in a large number of youngsters and party workers have fanned out in educational and technical institutions including the Chatrapati Sahuji Maharaj university, its affiliates and the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) to invite students to hear Mr. Modi and his plans for a vibrant India.
Over the last week, party workers visited Ram Leela venues and Puja pandals during the Durga Puja celebrations, where they distributed invites and pamphlets informing them of Mr. Modi’s rally.
The entire city has been splashed with posters, hoardings, bunting and banners giving details of the rally and its venue -- the social welfare department ground opposite Gautam Buddha Park in Indiranagar.
Teams have been formed to work out guest and crowd management, food and water for rallyists, parking of vehicles, media management and sanitation, a local office bearer said.
Hundreds of buses have been requisitioned to ferry people to the rally site from nearby areas.
Mr. Modi will land on a chopper at around 1 p.m. near the rally venue October 19 after a brief stopover at Lucknow’s Amausi airport.
Special galleries are being made for women, journalists and intellectuals. Taking no chances in the run up to the maiden rally of the Gujarat chief minister after he was anointed the prime ministerial candidate, party general secretary in-charge of UP, Amit Shah, as well as leaders like Vinay Katiyar, Mukhtaar Abbas Naqvi, Ramapati Ram Tripathi and state president Laxmikant Bajpayi have visited Kanpur to oversee arrangements of the rally.
Mr. Bajpayi says the rally “would not only be historic but would also rout political adversaries involved in petty politics”.
The party’s minority wing is also working hard to ensure that a sizeable chunk from the Muslim localities attend the rally and to do so a booklet listing welfare schemes for Muslims undertaken by the Gujarat government is being distributed in Muslim-dominated areas of the city.
Rumana Siddiqui, state president of the BJP’s minority wing, is also touring the city.
“The rally would prove to prophets of doom sitting in opposition parties that Mr. Modi is anti-anybody. The myth that Muslims are wary of Mr. Modi will be shattered in the rally,” said Vijay Bahadur Pathak, state spokesman of the BJP.
Prem Panjwaani, a local who is a tarot card reader, admits that the preparations have “impressed him” and that he had “sure shot plans to go and hear Mr. Modi speak”.
Imran Abbas, 24, a resident of Jajmau and a marketing executive with a tannery, however says that he will see Modi on television rather than go to the rally.
“See, you cannot deny the prominence of Mr. Modi in the national political space but it is too early for the BJP to estimate his acceptance among us,” he mused.
The BJP is also giving special attention to media and separate stands are being made to accommodate local, regional, national and international media which is likely to swarm the city to cover Modi’s maiden foray into Uttar Pradesh, which sends 80 MP’s to the Lok Sabha.
The BJP’s national media in-charge Srikant Sharma is visiting Kanpur to take stock of the preparations for the media.
With general elections scheduled for 2014, the party is specially eyeing the rally for Lok Sabha seats like Farrukhabad, Fatehpur, Kannauj Kanpur, Akbarpur, and Etawah -- seats held by either the Congress or the SP.
With the area being a Mulayam Singh Yadav bastion, the party is also doing a reality check on the ruling Samajwadi Party amid reports that it was faced with a strong anti-incumbency.
The BJP has set itself a target of 40 plus seats from UP. It currently holds 10 of the 80 Lok Sabha seats.