After an overwhelming gathering at Aam Aadmi Party’s political conference at Maghi Mela, the Congress and the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) are in an overdrive to ensure that their respective party workers do not attend the AAP rally during the upcoming Baisakhi festival on April 13.
During the Maghi Mela conferences in Muktsar in January this year, workers of Congress and SAD had headed to the AAP rally, instead of staying put for their respective conferences. These workers had made a beeline to listen to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, causing major embarrassment to both SAD and Congress.
Learning from the past experience, the Congress and the Akalis, alike, are taking measures to ensure workers stay put for their conferences on Baisakhi at Talwandi Sabo. A few days after Deputy Chief Minister and Shiromani Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal directed his party rank and file to administer an oath to party workers to not leave the rally till the last speaker was done, the Congress, apart from providing transportation and other attractions for the rally, will also ensure participation with party flags and ribbons on the turban for party workers. However, much to the relief of both SAD and Congress, Kejriwal is not participating in the AAP rally this time.
Sukhbir had courted a controversy while addressing his partymen in Bathinda on Saturday after he asked them not to leave the rally even to pay obeisance at the Talwandi Sabo gurdwara.
The Congress has devised a novel idea of getting ribbons with the party’s symbol on it, and making party workers, boarding the bus for the rally, wear it around the turban or as a headband compulsorily. The party has placed an order for one lakh such ribbons, a source said.
The AAP has similar ribbons that were used extensively during the Maghi Mela. Several Congress and SAD workers were seen wearing these ribbons around their turbans while traveling in their respective parties’ buses. The media had clicked umpteen pictures of such workers.
The Congress, not willing to leave any stone unturned this time, has assigned leaders to be present in every bus ferrying the workers. These leaders have been asked to make sure the workers wear only Congress ribbons and enter the party’s rally venue by all means.
“The ribbon will easily identify them in the crowd as Congress workers. We had many of such ribbons handed over to the party leaders today,” said a Congress leader from Talwandi Sabo.
The Congress has also ensured a huge parking space next to the rally venue. They have rented a land of 16 acres for the rally and 45 acres for parking so that vehicles are parked right near the venue.
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