Demonetisation of Rs 500 and 1000 notes seems to be having no effect on the preparations for the Jalandhar rally to be addressed by BJP president Amit Shah, who will kick off his party’s campaign for the forthcoming Punjab Assembly polls scheduled early next year. The expenses on hoardings, posters and transportation of party workers have been split among booth-level leaders and heads of different wings of the party.
According to the organisers, party’s national office would bear the major expenses like for tent, food and chairs at the venue. In certain cases, old currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 have been used by the party to make payments for hoardings and posters. Called “Booth Workers Sammelan”, the gathering will comprise at least 4,000 booth-level BJP workers from 23 Assembly constituencies where the party contested the 2012 Assembly polls. Workers from across the state will also attend the rally, to be held at Guru Gobind Singh Avenue in Jalandhar.
For the last four days, nearly 100 labourers have been busy putting up tents, making seating Stage set for Amit Shah’s rally in Jalandhar today; cash no problem arrangements and installing sound and light systems.
Sethi Tent House of Amritsar has been engaged for pitching the tents and making the seating arrangement. Dimple Sethi, owner of the tent house, said, “The seating arrangement has been made to accommodate 22,000-23,000 visitors.”
Regarding the payment, Sethi said, “I have been told I would be paid by cheque later. This is the same venue where Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharminder Pradhan launched Pradhan Mantri Ujjawal Yojna scheme on November 11. Most of our material was already lying here, thus it saved us transportation charges also.”
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Around Rs 15 lakh would be spent on tent and seating arrangement at the venue, Sethi said. Manjit Singh Rai, BJP general secretary who is looking after the arrangements for the event, said, “After demonetisation, we did not make much change in our programme. Everybody in the party is ready to bear individual expenses. There are no monetary issues for the purpose of transportation because petrol pumps are still accepting old currency notes. Expenses pertaining to hoardings and flex boards etc. shall be borne by the booth-level leaders on their own.”
Hundreds of posters and hoardings have already been put up along the Chandigarh-Jalandhar highway. Shah will be reaching Jalandhar in the afternoon by road.
Sheetal Angural from BJP’s Scheduled Caste Morcha (Punjab), said, “I got 400 posters and hoardings made from my own personal savings. I will not raise any bill for this. I had already made part payment in old currency to my printer. The remaining amount shall be paid through cheques. Similarly, Kisan Morcha and Yuva Morcha leaders have also contributed in the arrangements instead of putting a burden on the party”.
Vinit Dheer of Prime International, the printer engaged by the party for printing of posters, said, “I have got a big order for the billboards, but I can not reveal the exact number. I am told I would be paid by cheque later, which is fine with me.”