Intermittent rain and waterlogged stretches of roads apparently forced Prime Minister Narendra Modi to speed through his road show in the city on Thursday evening.
The PM was on a brief visit to the city on Thursday evening to distribute aid among Divyangs, launch first phase of link-III of Saurashtra Narmada Avataran Irrigation (SAUNI) Yojana by formally welcoming Narmada water into Aji-I dam and to lead a 9-km long road show from Aji dam to airport in the city. However, it had been raining in the city since morning and city fire brigade control-room said that by evening, 33 mm rainfall had been recorded. Race Course ground, the venue of the aid distribution event and many stretches of roads on which the PM was to hold his road show were waterlogged.
It was drizzling when the PM embarked on his road show from Aji dam at around 7:30 pm after dedicating to public the phase-I of SAUNI project and subsequently addressing a public meeting at the dam site. Maldharis or cattle herders at Chunarawad chowk on Bhavnagar road had been performing dandia raas for about an hour before PM was to drive by. Many people even jumped on the stage to get a gimps of Modi as it drizzled, making to road wet.
Driving in a sunroof Land Rover car brought from Delhi, Modi whizzed passed the huge gathering waving to the huge crowd on either side of the road. Youths who had their mobile camera on to click a photo of the PM were disappointed as the motorcade drove past at much speed and the cameras could not catch images.
A huge crowd had gathered at Civil Hospital Chowk. But there also, the PM sped past, waving to the roaring crowd. On Race Course too, thousands had swarmed to wave to Modi but the motorcade kept on moving at much higher speed than the PM’s road show in Surat. In April this year, Modi had taken around three hour to cover around 11-km route of his road show from Surat airport to circuit house. But here, he wound up the show within an hour as per scheduled. Dozens of organisations had set up stages along the route to welcome Modi but the PM hardly stopped at any of those junctions.
“On some stretches, the speed was little high whereas on others he slowed down to acknowledge cheering people. It was slightly drizzling also. But everything went as it was planned. The road who got over in around an hour,” Rajkot city police commissioner Anupam Singh Gehlot told The Indian Express.
The commissioner said that no untoward incident had been recorded from anywhere during the road show. Despite the rain, the road show route was illuminated and people waited for couple of hours to watch Modi drive on the city roads.
Many rods were barricaded for ensuring hassle-free passage for Modi road show for hours. Vehicles were not allowed to cross the road show corridors since around 3 pm, around four hours before the show was to begin. After the road show got over and PM flew back to Ahmedabad, the barricades were removed. However, there were brief traffic jams at Civil Hospital and on Race Course after the road show got over.
It was from Rajkot that Modi fought his maiden election to become chief minister of Gujarat in 2001. Before the PM started his road show, 10,000 BJP workers took out a bike rally along the road show route wearing T-shirts and helmets with Modi imprints.