Radha Krishna Pandey travelled nearly 20 kilometres on Saturday to reach Ramlila Maidan in central Delhi from his house in Mahipalpur to attend Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s rally. For Pandey, it was like a pilgrimage he undertook to reaffirm his faith in the party he has been supporting since he was a young boy.
“I have supported BJP since I was young and believe they have the capability to deliver,” he said.
Though the AAP didn’t cut much ice with Pandey, he likes the party’s programmes and ideas. “The BJP should take ideas from the Aam Aadmi Party and implement them,” said Pandey.
The attendance was quite thin at 11am, when the rally started and local MPs and leaders addressed the gathering. It swelled before the Prime Minister took the mike to address the crowd in his quintessential style, evoking massive response from the people who broke into chants of ‘Modi, Modi, Modi’.
BJP president Amit Shah had to acknowledge the crowd’s eagerness to listen to Modi, when people chanted Modi’s name while he was speaking. “I know you are all too eager to listen to Modiji,” Shah quipped during his speech.
The bright sunlight also helped energise the crowd and beat the morning cold.
Majority of the crowd consisted of party workers and loyalists. Residents of slum clusters were present in large numbers.
“Nobody can defeat the BJP. It loses because of internal politics and poor choice of candidates. The situation looks a little better this time around and we hope the party chooses right candidates,” said Dharm Das Chawla, 62, a party worker from Paharganj.
To ensure people, specially the elderly, did not face problems and stayed for the whole programme, chairs had been kept in almost all corners. Some complained about poor audio system.
The promises of 24/7 water and electricity enthused party workers. Supporters wanted the party to emulate what AAP did during its 49-day rule. “We support BJP but it would do them good to look at the pro-people policies of the AAP,” said Sita Devi, a resident of Mungeshpur. A number of youngsters were seen cheering Modi. Ankush Jain, 23, was confident that the BJP would deliver on all its promises.“I have attended a number of AAP rallies too but they just believe in making announcements. I have high expectations from Modi,” said Jain, a resident of Shastri Park in east Delhi.