Follow Us:
Monday, June 27, 2022

Free sarees stand out at Rajkot event; organisers say Modi, not freebies, is the draw

Workers of the ruling BJP’s Mahila Morcha, secretaries of milk-cooperative societies and party supporters went door to door on Friday and distributed the bandhanis free of cost.

Written by Gopal B Kateshiya | Rajkot |
Updated: May 29, 2022 8:01:57 am
Women clad in saffron sarees at the public meeting addressed by PM Narendra Modi, in Atkot village, in Rajkot on Saturday. (Express photo)

At the massive public meeting addressed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi after the inauguration of a hospital at Atkot in Gujarat’s Rajkot district on Saturday, thousands of women clad in saffron sarees stood out. The event’s organisers said the sarees had been distributed freely, making their task easier.

Workers of the ruling BJP’s Mahila Morcha (women’s wing), secretaries of milk-cooperative societies and party supporters went door to door on Friday and distributed bandhanis, a type of saree, free of cost among the women who had agreed to attend Modi’s public meeting. “We distributed 50,000 saris among women for the event. That was not to draw women to the public meeting but to help them look distinct. In all, around 60,000 women attended the public meeting and not all of them had got sarees,” Bharat Boghra, managing trustee of the Atkot-based Shree Patel Seva Samaj Trust, told The Indian Express.

Modi was in Atkot to inaugurate the KD Parvadiya Multispeciality Hospital constructed by the trust at a cost of Rs 50 crore on the Rajkot-Bhavnagar state highway. “With the help of donors, we had ordered the sarees directly from textile mills in Surat,” Boghra, who is also vice-president of the BJP’s state unit, said while refusing to divulge details of the money spent on the sarees.

The BJP had helped the trust mobilise people for the hospital inauguration and Boghra claimed that three lakh people attended the event and that all of them were served lunch.

Best of Express Premium
GST Council to vet verification plan for high-risk taxpayersPremium
Make Sanskrit compulsory from Class 1, RSS tells Gujarat govtPremium
Ashutosh Varshney writes: Backsliding in AmericaPremium
Absent Akhilesh, strong BJP campaign & BSP: Why SP sank in Azamgarh, ...Premium

Anju Kansagra, in-charge of the BJP’s Mahila Morcha for ward no. 12 in the Rajkot Municipal Corporation, said the saree distribution helped to draw a bigger crowd. “It helped to draw a crowd and made our task somewhat easier. From ward no. 12, we could convince 407 women and 53 men to come to Atkot and we ferried them in 11 buses. Without the sarees, I am afraid we could have managed to fill only about four buses,” Kansagra said.

🚨 Limited Time Offer | Express Premium with ad-lite for just Rs 2/ day 👉🏽 Click here to subscribe 🚨

Seema Agrawal, treasurer of Mahila Morcha for ward no.2, said that Anjali Rupani, in-charge of the women’s wing in Rajkot city and wife of former chief minister Vijay Rupani, had arranged for additional sarees. “All women who were given the sarees the previous day came to Atkot today,” Agarwal said.

Women clad in saffron sarees waiting to welcome PM Narendra Modi at a public meeting in Atkot village, in Rajkot. (Express photo)

Those who got the free sarees said that they had instructions to wear them only for the Atkot public meeting. “We were asked to wear them for today’s event only and that we do not need to return them. Nor did they give me the saree on the condition that I will have to wear it to future BJP events also though I am free to do so on my own,” said Deepa Vaishnani (37), a homemaker from the Umiya Chowk area on 150-feet Ring Road in Rajkot.

In Jasdan town, the sarees were distributed by Ramaben Makwana, former president of the Jasdan municipality, women at the public meeting said. “We got the sarees from her yesterday and were told that we could keep them. So we accepted them and wore them today,” Lakshmi Ghodakiya (60), a casual labourer from the town, said.

A group of women from Bhandariya village of Jasdan taluka said that Pravin Desai, secretary of a milk cooperative society in their village, distributed the sarees among 60 women. “But it is not for the saree that I have come here. They told me that Modi was coming to Rajkot and that we should attend the meeting and thus, I came,” Ramaben Malaviya (47), a farmer from the village said, adding she always voted for the BJP.

Modi was in Atkot to inaugurate the KD Parvadiya Multispeciality Hospital constructed by the trust at a cost of Rs 50 crore on the Rajkot-Bhavnagar state highway. (Express photo)

Boghra said that the 5,001 women who lined up the road from the hospital to the public meeting venue across the highway to welcome the prime minister were also given stainless steel pots and coconuts free of cost. Many women in the audience complained that they did not get the pots and the coconuts. “But it is not for such freebies that women attend public meetings of Narendra Modi. They do it because they have faith in Modi and want to listen to him,” insisted Harshidaba Kanojiya, secretary of the Mahila Morcha for ward no.2 in Rajkot city.

Buy Now | Our best subscription plan now has a special price

Kamlesh Mirani, president of the Rajkot city unit of the party, said that 20,000 people from the city, including 5,000 women, attended the event in Atkot. “From Rajkot, we managed to send 204 buses full of supporters to Atkot. And thousands of people went to Atkot in their private vehicles to listen to Modi,” said Mirani.

Express Subscription Do not hit the wall, subscribe for the best coverage out of India starting at just $5 per month

📣 Join our Telegram channel (The Indian Express) for the latest news and updates

For all the latest Political Pulse News, download Indian Express App.

  • Newsguard
  • The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.
  • Newsguard