Tens of thousands of people from all over the country, including Maharashtra, Karnataka and Kerala, gathered here Monday for Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati's rally to mark the Bahujan Samaj Party's (BSP) 25th anniversary celebrations.
The silver jubilee celebrations at the Ramabai Ambedkar grounds coincide with party founder Kanshi Ram's birthday.
It is estimated that there are nearly 20 lakh participants from across the country, party officials said.
The BSP, which was founded on April 14, 1984, completed 25 years last year, but the celebration could not be held then because of Lok Sabha elections.
"Apart from gearing up the cadre for the upcoming assembly elections, Behenji (Mayawati) will also highlight the achievements of her government in order to give a befitting reply to our opponents, who try every means to malign the party's image," a BSP functionary told IANS, on the condition of anonymity.
"In this rally, our opponents will get to know about our party's ever-expanding base as people not only from the state but from different parts of the country are attending the rally," he added.
According to party sources, nearly 15 waterproof, special pandals, each spread over 25,000 square metres, have come up at the venue to accommodate the participants.
Moreover, a 7,000 square metre dining hall has also been set up that will offer a variety of Indian delicacies and dishes to the rally participants, they added.
The 12 km route from Hazratganj, the heart of the city, to the rally venue at Ramabai Ambedkar grounds is draped in blue. Be it the decorative lights, the welcome arches, banners and hoardings, and even the lights around fountains at major road junctions, everything is painted blue.
The Rs.1,200 crore Ambedkar Memorial has also been decorated, while all advertisement hoardings all along the thoroughfare to the venue seemed to have been taken over by the BSP. Mayawati's portrait was emblazoned on the freshly painted hoardings and announcements about the rally were visible everywhere.