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Lucknow gearing up for mammoth BSP rally
Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow |
April 12, 2003 17:34 IST
Hectic arrangements are on for the Bahujan Samaj Party rally on Ambedkar Jayanti in Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh on April 14.
The preparations had started nearly a month ago and Chief Minister Mayawati is ensuring that every government department is doing its bit to ensure a 'grand success' for the rally.
According to official estimates, at least half a million people are expected to participate in the rally, to be addressed by Mayawati and her mentor and BSP supremo Kanshi Ram.
No one is willing to go on record on the approximate cost of the rally to the state exchequer. But unofficial estimates put the figure at a whopping Rs 150-250 million.
Mayawati is also blatantly misusing the government machinery. She has ordered all police stations in the state to 'provide' at least 5-8 buses for transporting the public to Lucknow.
According to reports every police station incharge has been asked to contribute Rs 10,000 to meet the costs.
This will be the second rally to be held on the 25 acre Ambedkar Maidan created on the land belonging to the Lucknow Jail.
Deputy Prime Minister Lal Kishenchand Advani flew down to participate in the previous rally held on the same ground on September 2, 2002. He described it as the 'largest ever' he had seen.
Instead of the normal practice of putting up water tankers to quench the thirst of the crowds, the administration has installed as many as 800 water-taps installed around the rally ground.
An old and abandoned canal is being refilled with water from the nearly dry Gomati river to run along the rally ground as a part of the state of art landscaping carried out at a cost of several millions.
The party has also paid in advance Rs 1.6 million to Indian Railways to run six special trains, as a precautionary measure to prevent stampedes.
A stampede at the railway station on the night of September 2 claimed the lives of 16 Bahujan Samaj Party workers who were returning from the rally.
The administration had also spruced up the Ambedkar Park -- Mayawati's dream project -- built at a cost of Rs 1.5 billion, an expenditure that drew flak from the Comptroller and Auditor General of India.