Updated: February 22, 2015 2:31:40 pm
He was there for just 15 minutes, but Prime Minister Narendra Modi stole the show at the tilak ceremony of Samajwadi Party president Mulayam Singh Yadav’s grand-nephew Tej Pratap Singh Yadav, who is getting married to RJD chief Lalu Prasad’s youngest daughter Raj Lakshmi, at Saifai on Saturday.
Mulayam, Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and other senior SP leaders were surprised to see party workers and supporters, majority of them from Saifai, cheering and clapping for as long as Modi was on stage. Mulayam, Lalu as well as the women in the Yadav family took turns to get photos clicked with Modi.
One SP MLA said this was a warning sign. “The writing on the wall is clear, people are crazy about Modi. Our supporters, office bearers, they all left their seats and started cheering when Modi arrived. We should wake up,” the MLA said.
Modi was escorted by Mulayam and Akhilesh to the stage at around 10.50 am.
The crowd inside the Saifai Mahotsav pandal went wild — many of them stood up on their seats, jumped barricades or climbed on pillars to get a better view and click pictures with their mobile phones. Sensing the mood, Modi waved to the crowd.
Once on stage, Mulayam offered a shawl to Modi, and the PM responded by shaking hands with the him as well as Lalu. “He overshadowed our leaders and the event. People only want to see him,” a senior SP leader told The Sunday Express.
Both Mulayam and Lalu escorted Modi to his seat.
As the tilak ceremony continued, women and children from both families lined up to meet Modi. Ramgopal Yadav, Mulayam’s cousin, also got pictures clicked with Modi. “Who doesn’t want his picture taken with the PM?” he said.
After the photo session, Modi stood up and blessed Tej Pratap before getting ready to leave. But Mulayam’s brother Shivpal Yadav requested him to come to the main stage as the crowd was getting restless. Modi obliged and spent a minute waving to the crowd.
When Modi left at 11:05 am, the crowd too started to disperse, mostly heading to the food section.
Akhilesh, meanwhile, accompanied Modi to the airstrip after a brief stop at Power Corporation’s guesthouse.
During the ceremony, when former SP leader Amar Singh arrived, there was no one to receive him. Some SP leaders were unhappy about their Rajya Sabha MP Jaya Bachchan making a brief appearance. “She has been made an MP from our party but she doesn’t have time for the function,” a leader said.
Actor Amitabh Bachchan, who arrived after Modi, also got the crowd excited but left after 10 minutes. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and JD(U) president Sharad Yadav also came for the ceremony.
BJP MP Sakshi Maharaj was also seen sitting in the VVIP gallery. Several SP ministers, including Azam Khan and Raghuraj Pratap Singh alias Raja Bhaiyya, were conspicuous by their absence.
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