Modi’s Ramlila Maidan rally: Empty seats in the crowd, promises galore on stagehttps://indianexpress.com/article/cities/delhi/empty-seats-in-the-crowd-promises-galore-on-stage/

Modi’s Ramlila Maidan rally: Empty seats in the crowd, promises galore on stage

The fact that the BJP’s campaign ahead of the Delhi Assembly elections centre around Modi was obvious.

Crowd at Ramlila Maidan to attend Narendra Modi’s maiden Delhi rally as PM on Saturday. (Source: Express photo by Praveen Khanna)
Crowd at Ramlila Maidan to attend Narendra Modi’s maiden Delhi rally as PM on Saturday. (Source: Express photo by Praveen Khanna)

The aggressive publicity campaign in the lead-up to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s rally ensured that people from all parts of Delhi turned up at Ramlila Maidan on Saturday.

While the BJP seemed to have fallen short of their targeted one-lakh turnout, the Delhi Police estimated that nearly 40,000 supporters came to hear Modi.

The fact that the BJP’s campaign ahead of the Delhi Assembly elections centre around Modi was obvious. Water bottles bearing his picture and slogan ‘Chalo Chalo Modi ke Saath’ were handed out to supporters. Punctuating the saffron flags at the venue were cut-outs of Modi and his aide Amit Shah. The song, ‘Ek Bharat, Shreshtha Bharat’ was the background score to which the party kick-started its campaign.

BJP leaders said almost 2,300 vehicles were used to ferry people to the rally. In the preceding week, SMS campaigns, membership drives, banners and word-of-mouth campaigns had been used by the party to ensure that as many voters as possible turn up to see Modi.

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Vikas Ahluwalia, a trader from Bhajanpura said, “I have only heard Modi speak on television. I left my house early so that I get a good seat. He is a great speaker and if he does even a fifth of what he promises, it will be great.”

A number of people at the rally admitted that they had also participated in the Anna Hazare movement, which had led to the formation of the AAP. “While I agree that Kejriwal ditched his responsibilities, I wouldn’t call him a Naxalite. Kejriwal’s motivations are true, but I think Modi is more capable,” Aveek Dasgupta, a resident of Mayur Vihar, said.

But for most Modi supporters the empty chairs were immaterial. As Modi’s speech was displayed on the 14 LED screens at the venue, all eyes were glued to them. “If the electricity situation improves in Delhi, our lives will become infinitely better,” Uttam Nagar resident Jeevan Sharma said.

Mps speak

Vijay Goel,
Rajya Sabha MP

AAP and Congress did nothing for people in unauthorised colonies. BJP is the only party which decided to regularise these colonies

Harsh Vardhan,
Union Minister  

BJP has made schemes to develop Delhi. In the upcoming Assembly elections, a landmark victory will be registered by BJP

Manoj Tiwari,
Northeast Delhi MP  

If he (Kejriwal) has guts, he should put up posters bearing my photos next to his on autorickshaws

Ramesh Bidhuri,
South Delhi MP

As many as 1,600 buses were used to ferry people to Modiji’s rally. People also came in 700 cars