Despite plummeting temperatures and fog having enveloped the city, BSP leaders have no plans to reduce the crowd strength at party president Mayawati’s National Savdhan Maha Rally to be held here on Wednesday.
As supporters from outside the state began trickling into Lucknow on Monday, they were sent to the Smriti Upvan ground in Ashiana area, where the party has set up a huge tent for their lodging. The arrangement has been named as Mahamaya Nagar.
The waterproof tents to beat the rain and dew have been arranged for over 50,000 people and have nearly exhausted the stock of all the tent suppliers in Lucknow. The lodgings have been divided into ten blocks named after B R Ambedkar, Chhatrapati Shahuji Maharaj, BSP founder Kanshi Ram and other Dalit icons, with a separate dining hall for the food with the particular state’s cuisine and a reception-cum-control room for each of them.
Quilts, mattresses and pillows have been placed inside the tents for the party supporters coming to attend the rally from various states like Maharashtra, Gujarat, Haryana, Rajasthan and the southern states.
Sanjay Vohra, owner of the Vohra Tent House, said that over fifty tent houses in Lucknow have collaborated to fulfil the party’s lodging demand. He added that certain entities like chairs were even brought from neighbouring districts like Barabanki and Unnao.
Mindful of the freezing cold outside, wood and cow dung cakes have been collected for bonfires outside each block. CCTV cameras have been installed on the ground while every party supporter arriving at the lodging is being given a identity. A separate tent has been erected for cultural programmes, where the BSP workers will assemble to sing poems on the party’s ideology.
“There are all the facilities here. When I decided to come to Lucknow I was afraid of the cold, but now I am not. There are enough quilts and also fire,” said Devanand Gajbhiye, a farmer from Akola district of Maharashtra, who reached Lucknow on Monday morning with his family.
Even though the rally is being held on Mayawati’s 58th birthday, there will be none of the niceties like cutting of cake, keeping in mind the Muzaffarnagar riot victims. BSP national general secretary Satish Chandra Misra said the party chief will release the next edition of her book, A Travelogue of My Struggle-ridden Life and BSP Movement, on the day of rally.