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Lucknow gears up for BSP rally
Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow |
April 14, 2003 10:17 IST
The Uttar Pradesh administration is geared up for Bahujan Samaj Party leader and Chief Minister Mayawati's rally in Lucknow on Monday.
The rally is ostensibly being held to mark the birth anniversary of dalit leader Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar.
However, Mayawati's objective is to train her guns on her political foes -- Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and the Congress.
What has provoked her into staging the event -- titled 'Vishal Pardafaash Maha Rally' -- is the exposure of her corrupt practices by the Samajwadi Party through the release of videotapes.
All major TV channels are covering the event. Two channels -- Star and Sahara -- have hired helicopters to provide an aerial view of the rally, which is expected to draw at least half-a-million people.
Volunteers started pouring in from Sunday afternoon and the sprawling 27acre Ambedkar Maidan, specially carved out for the show, is getting packed.
A few party supporters have arrived from as far as Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh and the administration has arranged for their stay.
About 400,000 food packets are being prepared at different places for distribution among the volunteers.
"We have made arrangements for parking of 16,000 vehicles at different entry points to the state capital," Lucknow District Magistrate Navneet Sehgal told rediff.com
Six trains are being pressed into service to facilitate the return of the crowds. "We have received money for running these special trains from the BSP," said Divisional Railway Manager R K Bansal.
Local newspapers in Lucknow are full of official advertisements released by various government departments, hailing Ambedkar on his birth anniversary and praising the chief minister to have remembered the intellectual."It will be an unprecedented show," said a BSP functionary overseeing the arrangements at the exquisite dais from where Mayawati and her political mentor Kanshi Ram would address the rally.