With BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi holding a successful rally here on Friday, the morale of party candidate Vijay Sampla's supporters has certainly got a boost, especially when Congress president Sonia Gandhi' Saturday rally had to be cancelled due to "security reasons".
The rally that witnessed jam-packed audience has come as a blessing in disguise for Sampla, whose campaigning was marred by factionalism so far.
Leaders from rival factions were seen working in tandem with Sampla supporters to make the rally a success.
Before Modi addressed the gathering, leaders from disgruntled faction such as Tikshan Sud from Hoshiarpur and Phagwara MLA Som Parkash Phagwara ensured a good gathering at the rally from their segments and also pledged Sampla's victory.
Sampla's campaign managers feel that despite covering the anti-incumbency factor, the rally will help wipe out a negative campaign against them.
The crowd reciprocated to Modi's speech with fervour.
· Chief minister Parkash Singh Badal said it was a good omen that Narendra Modi was addressing five rallies in Punjab on Friday. "Five is a lucky number for the Punjabis. Punjab is a confluence of five rivers. I became the chief minister five times and now Modiji is addressing five rallies in the state," the CM said.
· When the CM started his speech with the salutation "Waheguru ji ka khalsa, Waheguru ji ki fateh", Modi raised his hands and joined the chorus.
· Although all the speakers spoke from the stage in Punjabi, the banners put up at the venue were in Hindi. The entry passes issued to the media and other guests had Modi's name wrongly spelt.
· Restive crowd had started moving out of the venue when Modi came on the stage, nearly an hour behind schedule. For hours, the audience remained without drinking water. When water was arranged, people scrambled for it.
· In protest against inadequate seating arrangement, senior SAD leaders, including ex-Rajya Sabha member Varinder Singh Bajwa, boycotted the function.
· Bhulath MLA Bibi Jagir Kaur raked up the issue of 1984 riots and Operation Bluestar and said the Sikhs would not forgive the Congress for its mistakes.