January 4, 2022 4:39:11 am
The Punjab unit of BJP is leaving no stone unturned to turn Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Ferozepur on Wednesday — his first to the poll-bound state after the repeal of farm laws — into a show of party’s strength.
Modi had last visited the state in 2020, before the farm ordinances were tabled in Union Cabinet on June 5 that year. The ordinances were later replaced by the agri laws, which led to a protracted protest by farmers, mostly from Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, for over a year at Delhi borders.
After the repeal, the BJP has been making concerted efforts to woo the Sikhs, who spearheaded the agitation
During his visit, Modi will lay the foundation stones of development projects worth over Rs 42,750 crore, including the Delhi-Amritsar-Katra expressway and a PGI satellite centre, in Ferozepur.
In a statement, the PMO said that “in line with the prime minister’s endeavour to provide world class medical facilities across the country, new medical infrastructure projects in three towns of Punjab will be laid”.
“PM’s consistent endeavour to improve connectivity across the country has led to multiple national highway development projects being taken up in Punjab,” the PMO said.
It has resulted in more than doubling the total length of national highways in the state from about 1,700 kilometre in 2014 to more than 4,100 kilometres in 2021. “In continuation of such efforts the foundation stone of two major road corridors in Punjab will also be a step towards fulfilling the PM’s vision” to enhance accessibility to major religious centres, the PMO said.
With dates of the Assembly polls likely to be announced anytime soon, the PM’s visit assumes significance. The BJP has joined hands with former chief minister Amarinder Singh’s Punjab Lok Congress and the veteran leader Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa’s SAD Sanyukt for the Punjab polls.
The BJP Monday claimed that PM will address a gathering of nearly 3 lakh people at the rally venue that will have a covered area of 20 acres.
Dhruv Wadhwa, co-convener, Punjab BJP, told the The Indian Express that people will be coming to attend the rally from across the state. “At least 3 lakh people will attend the rally. It will be the biggest ever rally in Punjab’s history.” said Wadhwa.
“From Ludhiana alone, 250 buses will be carrying BJP supporters and workers to the rally,” said Pushpender Singal, party’s district unit chief.
Multiple BJP leaders said that over 100 bus-loads of people are expected from each of the 23 districts.
The farmer unions earlier had announced that they will protest against Modi during his visit to Ferozepur, with BKU (Ugrahan), the largest farmer union of Punjab, declaring that they will burn effigies of PM at all district headquarters on January 5.
Wadhwa said the party is taking precaution to ensure that no such protest takes place at the rally venue.
“Security arrangements will be extremely tight. One extra layer of security each will be placed both inside and outside the venue,” said Wadhwa.
Party leaders have been camping in the district for more than a week holding ‘chai pe charcha’ at various places even as ‘Ferozepur Chalo’ march is being organised in various parts of Punjab. The slogan being given by BJP is ‘Nawa Punjab Bhajpa de naal’
The state unit of BJP, meanwhile, denied the reports that people from Haryana and Sriganganagar district of Rajasthan would be attending the rally at Ferozepur, which is located just 40 km away from borders of the two states. The party said “only Punjab voters” will be part of the rally.
Wadhwa also ruled out any new leader being inducted into the BJP during PM’s function.
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