BJP president Nitin Gadkari poses to be simple with down-to-earth demeanour. So the concept of creating a tent village as the theme of BJP’s national convention venue “excited” Gadkari immensely. But many in the organisation including some senior leaders preferred luxury outside the Kushabhau Thakre Nagar (the name given to the venue).
Ever since the saffron party lost the Lok Sabha polls, its leaders have been sending message to its cadres that they are shunning five-star culture and going back to the basics. The setting up of several tents for the delegates was an attempt to give a “down to earth” impression in an attempt to highlight the party’s concern for the rural masses.
There are 1,225 tents at the convention venue, of which 25 tents are for VVIPs while 200 are for the senior leaders.
However, the outgoing president Rajnath Singh spent the night at Hotel Sayaji, while Arun Jaitley, Shatrughan Sinha, Vinod Khanna, Hema Malini, Maneka Gandhi, Varun Gandhi and many others preferred plush city hotels.
It was said that at least Rs one crore was spent only for setting up of tents while a substantial amount was spent for transportation and hotels for the guests.
“An ordinary tent’s rent for three days is Rs 1500,” informs Babu Singh Raghuvanshi, the state BJP general secretary and coordinator of the venue.
“We have also provided some flats to women delegates,” he added. And the responsibility for everything was given to the influential Madhya Pradesh Minister for Industries Kailash Vijayvargiya. Hundreds of cars were deployed to ferry guests staying in hotels in the city, 20 km away from the Omaxe City venue sprawled over 90 acres.
However, there are lots of complaints about tents. A party legislator from Maharashtra, who spent Wednesday night at the tent, said that there was no water in his tent. He had to come to a VVIP tent this morning for mouth wash and other morning chores.
All the 25 VVIP tents are air-conditioned and have double beds, sofa, dressing table, personal computer and even solar panels for providing hot water. Besides, two mini-tents were also set up in each VVIP tents for security personnel.
Denying news reports about five-star comfort being offered at the venue, Gadkari said he could not sleep since two nights as tents walls were too flimsy to provide any protection from cold breeze.
“I had to use two blankets at night. I wish the media men also stayed here to know the truth,” he quipped.
“I am sure they would have run away in the middle of night,” remarked Vijayvargiya.