With less than a day to go for the Bharatiya Janata Party's rally at Sujanpur Tihra, to be addressed by senior party leaders Narendra Modi and Rajnath Singh on Sunday, inclement weather in the district has the party leaders and workers worried.
Continuous and heavy rain lashed the district since Thursday evening, hampering the construction of the stage and pandal for the rally. Besides, the chaugan (ground) has become wet, leading to further concern.
However, BJP leaders are confident that they would complete the work in time, so that the rally was held as scheduled.
'Rain to continue'
The meteorological department has predicted rain in the district till Saturday night. However, while the sky would clear up on Sunday, showers may occur on Sunday afternoon.
Expressing optimism that Sunday would remain dry and sunny, former BJP minister and one of the convenors of the organising committee Praveen Sharma said, "All party workers and leaders are praying to lord Indra, the god of rain and weather. As BJP workers are god-fearing and religious, the rain god will shower mercy upon us and Sunday would dawn crystal-clear and warm."
Stringent security arrangements
Sujanpur Tihra has been converted into a fort, with police personnel guarding all parts of the town round-the-clock since Thursday. Sources say the department is trying to provide the tightest security measures for the rally as the party's star speaker Narendra Modi is on the hit list of terrorists.
Ramesh Kumar and Sandeep Singh of Sujanpur told HT that while they were happy that Modi and other senior BJP leaders were coming to their town, they were irked by the security measures for the rally. "HP being a peaceful state, such strict measures were not needed, as the people of the state are peace-loving and honest," they said.
Saneha Kumari of Jangel village, who had come to the town to buy things for her household, said it would not be possible for her to visit Sujanpur Tihra on Sunday, as security measures were "too tight" and it would not be possible for general public to enter the town after the "long frisking".
However, local traders are happy, as they feel that such rallies would help their business flourish.
Naresh Kumar said he had already bought large amounts of foodstuff for sale before and during the rally.
He added that vendors were happier as the Congress was also going to organise a rally on the same grounds next month. Besides, Holi celebrations in the town from March 16 to 19 would be beneficial for residents in general, and the trading community in particular, he added.
Crediting local member of legislative assembly Rajender Rana for the rally, Rama Thakur of Bagehra village said, "Had Rana not been elected to the Vidhan Sabha as an independent, the BJP would have not taken such steps to corner him in his own den."
Local body divided
The local nagar panchayat is in a fix, as the rally is being organised by the BJP, while it is dominated by rival Congress. However, the members are trying to keep the town neat and clean for the rally, in spite of their conflicting political affiliation.
While BJP workers are busy collecting money for the rally under the 'One note, one vote' scheme, the Congress is busy trying to stop people from attending the rally.
Local MLA Rajender Rana, who is on a two-day tour of the area, addressed meetings in various parts of the constituency on Friday, in which he criticised the BJP for its "anti-people" stance. He is expected to meet people on Saturday as well, to dissuade them from attending the rally.