The last day of Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi’s Kisan Yatra threw traffic out of gear during peak morning and evening hours in the Capital on Thursday.
The 26-day yatra across poll-bound Uttar Pradesh culminated at Jantar Mantar in Delhi.
Heavy traffic and subsequent snarls were reported from all across the Capital with motorists remaining stranded for hours as Rahul entered the city from Ghazipur in east Delhi and marched tp Jantar Mantar.
Central Delhi and its surrounding areas were among the worst hit with the ripple effects of the jams being felt in most parts of the city.
Eyewitnesses said parts of east and south Delhi, including stretches of Ring Road, were badly hit.
According to the Delhi traffic police, jams were reported from multiple locations because Gandhi’s entourage stopped at different points.
“This slowed down traffic movement. The traffic helpline received calls from Inderpuri, Nigambodh Ghat, Geeta Colony, ITO and Laxmi Nagar and around Khan Market among several other locations,” an official said.
Agitated motorists rued about the inadequate preparations of the traffic police for the rally. “There were diversions without an advisory. The stretch from Ashram Chowk to Central Delhi was choked. For the first 15 minutes of the jam, there were no traffic police officers to be seen either,” said Jitesh Rai, a resident of Mayur Vihar Phase 1.
Joint commissioner of police (traffic) Garima Bhatnagar said that the cops could not have issued an advisory as the organisers had not provided the exact number of people expected to attend Thursday’s rally. She added that the turnout proved to be bigger than what the police expected.
“We expected the traffic volume to be heavier than the usual most days, but did not anticipate so many people would come and attend the gathering,” said Bhatnagar. She claimed that the traffic slowed down at several places but never stopped.
Explain the horror that she faced on her way back home from work, a commuter Raina Jha said: “During evening peak hours, traffic usually moves slow on the old ITO bridge. But on Thursday it was bumper-to-bumper. Had I known that the situation was so bad, I would have taken the Rajghat route.”
A demonstration led by some Congress workers further blocked the already congested Vikas marg, especially the stretch from Preet Vihar to Nirman Vihar in east Delhi.
Some motorists stuck in the jam were also seen complaining about the absence of traffic police officers in easing the chaos.
“The right turn opposite the School of Planning and Architecture was closed. On days, such as these police should have opened that route. A lot of congestion would have cleared within minutes,” a commuter added.