From shelling out a mini-fortune for flights, train journeys without confirmed tickets to road trips via Pune, supporters of Devendra Fadnavis are leaving no stone unturned to watch their leader being sworn in as the chief minister on Friday evening.
More than 10,000 Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) workers – most of them from Nagpur (south-west), the constituency represented by the chief minister-elect – are rushing to Mumbai.
According to sources, airlines are charging as much as Rs. 35,000 for a round trip on the Nagpur-Mumbai route.“Trains are full and air tickets unaffordable. Around 2,000-3,000 party workers have left for Mumbai by road,” said Sanjay Phanje, office secretary of the BJP.
Some, who could not find buses or trains to Mumbai, are taking buses to Pune, from where they will proceed to Mumbai. This has led to a hike in fairs of the Pune-bound buses, with air-conditioned services charging Rs. 3,000 for a one-way journey, instead of the normal Rs 1,000-Rs. 1,200.
On Thursday evening, railway personnel at the Nagpur station had a tough time managing the massive crowd, as people shoved themselves in the Vidarbha Express without confirmed tickets. While the train was delayed for more than an hour, no injuries were reported.
“I was unable to get a confirmed ticket on the Vidarbha Express but have taken the train all the same, to witness Fadnavis taking oath as BJP’s first CM of Maharashtra. I have known Devendra since he was a kid. This is a very proud moment for us,” said Manisha Shende, a BJP activist.
“We have booked two additional bogies in Mumbai-Duranto Express to accommodate our senior party leaders,” said party spokesman Chandan Goswami.
A large number of party workers also rushed to Mumbai after learning that Krishna Khopde, the MLA from Nagpur (East), could be a minister in Fadnavis’ Cabinet.
The sudden rush, however, has sent travel plans of the aam aadmi haywire. Many people, who had come to Nagpur for Diwali holidays and were to return to their places of work, have been unable to find tickets in flights, trains or by road.