Sunday’s serial blasts at Patna’s Gandhi Maidan have heightened security concerns in Uttar Pradesh where the ‘rally war’ is expected to peak as the 2014 Lok Sabha elections draw closer.
While ruling SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and chief minister Akhilesh Yadav, both under Z plus security, will launch their 18-rally campaign from Azamgarh on October 29, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, who also has Z plus security besides an SPG cover, is to address rallies in Hamirpur and Salempur. These will be followed by a rally addressed by Narendra Modi in Bahraich on November 8.
“An alert had been sounded for the festive season. But after the Patna blasts we are going to issue a fresh alert,” ADG Mukul Goel said.
“We are aware of the BJP’s Bahraich rally and security will obviously be strengthened,” he said. The cadres of the major political parties fear for their top leaders but analysts feel that overplaying the security aspect could alienate the leaders from the masses.
Lucknow-based political scientist SK Dwivedi said, “It’s a tightrope walk. Everyone knows that during elections people want to come close to their leaders, to touch them. From now on, leaders will have to balance security concerns with public adulation.”