Everything about the BJP’s rally introducing its Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi to the people of Delhi on Sunday aimed to impress.
From live video feed delivered on LED screens littered across the venue, an impressive stage and quality sound system, CCTV surveillance, 3,000 security men, a 100-foot-high cut-out of Modi, hundreds of posters and cut-outs of the BJP symbol, packaged breakfast followed by lunch for some to fancy media kits for journalists — no expense seemed to have been spared for the BJP poster boy’s rally.
And the crowd was there only to hear him.
The venue was packed. Many felt it was an impressive show of strength by the BJP. The Delhi Police put the number of people in attendance at 1.3 lakh while BJP workers said “several lakhs” came.
Modi himself claimed: “No party in Indian history has held such a big rally in Delhi.”
People climbed iron scaffoldings and hung there precariously for a better view of the BJP leader. While many wore Modi masks, members of the Muslim community, wearing skull caps and holding Modi’s photographs and BJP flags, waved at cameras.
Those in the front rows kept chanting Modi’s name much to the amusement of diplomats from foreign missions including Germany, Japan, China, Peru, Mauritius, Greece and Spain seated prominently near the main stage.
As leader after leader from BJP spoke, the crowd grew restless. And then, after a party worker blew a bugle, Modi finally stood up with loudspeakers blaring AR Rahman’s number “Ma Tujhe Salaam”.
His voice was often not audible with the crowd erupting in cheers and applause.
So much so that he had to intervene, saying: “Your enthusiasm has been acknowledged and even the media has registered it by now. So, don’t overdo it.” The crowds mellowed, but not for long.
After his tirade against the Congress and UPA, Modi signed off with his trademark chanting of “Vande Mataram”. As he took a bow, you could hear a rather “outrageous” composition in the background — a male voice crooning, “Delhi mein toh CM ki beti bhi mahfooz nahin”.
The BJP, and Modi, were lucky. The party had arranged for hundreds of fans with water sprinklers to keep the venue cool. But they shouldn’t have bothered.
The weather was pleasant because of dark clouds hovering over the Japanese Park that threatened to burst anytime. It finally didn’t rain, but a cool breeze brought relief to the thousands gathered at the rally venue. Modi even thanked the gods for the pleasant weather.