Long before Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in Kolkata for his rally at the Brigade Parade Ground on Wednesday, hundreds of BJP supporters and party workers, wearing “Main Bhi Chowkidar” T-shirts, “NaMo Again” caps and Modi masks kept up the tempo at the venue. It was a massive turnout by any account, according to political observers.
They waved BJP flags and shouted ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ every now and then to welcome party leaders, and finally the Prime Minister.
Soon as Modi reached the dais a few minutes past four, the noise level went down dramatically, as the Prime Minister took over. Eager BJP karyakartas, keen to take pictures of Modi, broke barricades to get closer to the stage, which prompted the Prime Minister to raise a caution: “Those trying to come forward, please stop. Stay wherever you are. Don’t come forward. I salute all of you who have come here.”
Besides young party workers, even elderly people made to the venue to listen to the Prime Minister. “I have come from Jhargram to see the Prime minister. I will not leave until he finishes his speech,” said Pratima Mahato, who is in her sixties.
Nine huge makeshift hangars were erected to protect the people from the heat. Three large stages were built to accommodate party leaders and candidates, and the centre-stage was allotted to Modi and other senior leaders.
Anticipating a huge gathering, the BJP had deployed a large number of volunteers. But they appeared to be unable to control the crowd after people began climbing barricades to get a glimpse of the Prime Minister.
“We have come here from Birbhum district to show our support to Modi-ji. He is the leader the country needs today and we want to see him as the PM for the next five years,” said 28-year-old Bharat Shaw.
As Modi left the stage, many rushed forward to take one last look of the Prime minister. “My visit to Kolkata paid off. My dream of seeing the Prime Minister has been fulfilled. Now, we will visit the Victoria Memorial before leaving for home,” said Jhanturam Oraon, who works as a security guard in Purulia.