With nearly 35,000 people expected to attend the October 31 swearing-in function of the new Maharashtra Chief Minister and ministers at Wankhede Stadium in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the venue will be turned into a fortress beginning Tuesday when it will be handed over to the police.
For the very first government event at the Wankhede stadium, the 30,000-strong capacity of the stands will be augmented with seating for as many as 5,000 VVIP guests around the centre of the ground, where four separate stages are to be erected. These high profile guests will include the who’s who of Bollywood, corporate India, musicians, sportspersons and other dignitaries, as well as BJP chief ministers from other states and key politicians from across India.
The security plan for the swearing-in ceremony was discussed at the stadium on Monday by the Special Protection Group, Intelligence Bureau officials, Mumbai police, local BJP MLAs, BMC and Fire Brigade officials and various state government departments.
The hour-long ceremony will begin at 4 pm with the arrival of Modi, said police officers who attended Monday’s meeting. “Modi will arrive once people are seated. He will also address those attending the ceremony,” said a senior police officer.
A 150-foot-long stage will be set up on the ground between the Garware Pavillion and MCA Pavillion. “The stage will measure 150 feet by 50 feet. The ground will require to be dug up to construct the stage, which will be divided into three parts. In the centre, Governor Ch. Vidyasagar Rao will administer the oath to the new CM and ministers. On the left, the PM and other central ministers will be seated. Ministers who have been administered the oath will exit from the right and take their seats on the ground,” said the officer.
Attendance to the ceremony will be by invitation only. Around 25,000 people will be seated in the stands and other 4,000 will be seated on the ground. “CMs from BJP-ruled states, ministers from other states, state BJP presidents, MPs and MLAs, apart from the new ministers will be seated on the ground,” said the officer.
The stadium will be handed over to the Marine Drive police on Tuesday and will witness daily sweeps by the Bomb Detection and Disposal Squad. Construction of the stage will also begin on Tuesday.
More than 1,500 police personnel and 80 officers will be stationed in the vicinity of the stadium on Friday. Nine Quick Response Teams will also be stationed at each entrance of the stadium. The police said no-parking zone would be enforced on all roads leading to the stadium. “Parking will be allowed in the parking lot inside the Mumbai Hockey Association ground, CR2 Mall and Vidhan Bhavan. Starting Tuesday, we will also seal both ends of Jeeven Bima Marg where the BJP headquarters is located,” the officer said.