Bhartiya Janata Party’s prime ministerial nominee Narendra Modi is keeping everyone on tenterhooks in Uttar Pradesh where he is all set to address his third public rally in Bahraich town, barely 130 km from Patna, near the Indo-Nepal border on Friday.
While two DIG rank Indian Police Service officers were especially flown from Gujarat to personally supervise Modi’s security arrangements, the Akhilesh Yadav government too was leaving no stone unturned to ensure foolproof security for Modi. Extra care was being taken essentially in view of the suspected terrorist strike at Modi’s October 27 rally in Patna.
Besides the routine policing, the state administration has detailed as many as four officers of the rank of superintendent of police, 12 additional SPs, 29 deputy SPs, 225 sub-inspectors and 750 constables to keep the sprawling Raja Suheldev ground in the heart of the tiny town sanitised and to ensure trouble-free conduct of the rally. A special contingent of 75 commandoes belonging to the Anti-Terrorist Squad is in place and will keep a vigil from vantage points at the venue.
The highly porous Indo-Nepal border has already been sealed by the Sahastra Seema Bal that keeps round-the-clock tab on the movement of people. Known for a thriving Muslim population on both sides of the border dotted with many madrassas, Bahraich is among the less volatile town in UP. Despite a 50-50 Hindu-Muslim divide in the town of 3.5 lakh people, the place had not witnessed a communal clash over the past seven to eight years.
According to local reports, the news of Modi’s arrival has evoked a bit of tension between the two communities. However, what was more worrying for the authorities is the widely suspected presence of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence modules in the neighouring areas across the border in Nepal. “We cannot take any chances, particularly since we all know of ISI infiltration on that side of the border,” observed a senior intelligence official.
According to him, the Gujarat chief minister may have to be provided a bulletproof podium. Also multiple close-circuit cameras have been installed all over the venue where access will be granted only after identity verification.
The UP police has put up posters of suspected Indian Mujajideen operative Tehsin Akhtar, a prime suspect in the Patna blasts, along the main thoroughfares in Bahraich.
Modi’s close aide and BJP’s UP campaign manager Amit Shah has reached Bahraich to take stock of the situation. BJP spokesman Vijay Pathak claimed, ”The rally, which is scheduled for 1 pm, will draw a crowd of at least 2 lakh.”