INTERMITTENT SHOWERS and waterlogged stretches on his route apparently forced Narendra Modi to speed through his roadshow in the city on Thursday evening, disappointing many people who had stood at different spots for over an hour to get a good glimpse of the Prime Minister.
Modi was on a brief visit to the city on Thursday evening to distribute aid among the differently-abled people and launch the first phase of link-III of Saurashtra Narmada Avataran Irrigation (SAUNI) Yojana by overseeing Narmada water flowing into Aji-I dam. The Prime Minister subsequently led a 9-km roadshow from Aji dam to the city airport.
But, with the city witnessing showers since morning — the fire brigade control room said 33 mm rain had been recorded by Thursday evening — the Race Course ground, the venue of the aid distribution event, and many stretches Modi was scheduled to cover as part of his roadshow were reportedly waterlogged.
Modi, who had contested his first Assembly election from Rajkot, began the roadshow from Aji dam around 7.30 pm after inaugurating phase-I of SAUNI project and subsequently addressing a public meeting at the dam site.
To welcome the Prime Minister’s cavalcade, Maldharis, or cattle herders, were performing dandia raas from an hour before at Chunarawad Chowk, on Bhavnagar Road.
Driven in a Land Rover SUV, brought specially from Delhi, Modi whizzed passed the huge gathering at the spot, waving to the crowd on either side of the road. While mobile camera were out, waiting to capture the moment the Prime Minister drove past them, most people were disappointed as the motorcade zoomed past before the smartphone cameras could come to life.
A large crowd had gathered also at the Civil Hospital Chowk. But the convoy sped past at that point also, with the Prime Minister waving to the roaring crowd.
In April this year, Modi had taken around three hours to cover around 11 km in a similar roadshow from Surat airport to the Circuit House in the city. On Thursday, the roadshow wound up within an hour. Dozens of organisations had set up stages along the route to welcome Modi, but the Prime Minister hardly stopped at any of those junctions.
“On some stretches, the speed was a little high, and on others he slowed down to acknowledge the cheering people. It was drizzling also,” Rajkot city Police Commissioner Anupam Singh Gehlot told The Indian Express. “Everything went as per plan. The roadshow got over in approximately an hour.”Modi flew back to Ahmedabad later in the evening.
Before the Prime Minister’s roadshow got underway, 10,000 BJP workers took out a bike rally along the route, wearing T-shirts and helmets with Modi imprints.
Incidentally, Rajkot (East) is Chief Minister Vijay Rupani’s Assembly constituency.