In what can be termed as a “strategic shift” in the venue of December 21-Narendra Modi rally from Moga to Jagraon, 35 kilometres from Ludhiana, SAD-BJP local leadership is geared up to make it a grand event.
Having identified a 100 acres vacant plot at the site of Jagraon Sugar Mill, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) MLA Shiv Ram Kler has convened a meeting of top officials, including Ludhiana deputy commissioner Rajat Agarwal, Jagraon senior superintendent of police (SSP) Ashish Choudhary and Greater Ludhiana Area Development Authority (GLADA) chief administrator Rakesh Kumar Verma for the meeting scheduled for Saturday.
Eyeing a gathering of 5 lakh plus, senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders like Tikshan Sud, Phagwara MLA Som Prakash and SAD secretary and spokesperson DS Cheema will also attend the meeting organised in Jagraon.
When asked about the reason behind change of venue, MLA SR Kler said, “Jagraon is the nucleus of Punjab and is equidistant from all major cities, which makes it an ideal venue for a massive and successful rally. The decision was taken keeping in mind the huge gathering during the re-launch of Mai Bhago Scheme in October,” Kler added.
Terming the rally as a “preliminary exam”, SAD leaders claim the alliance will score outstandingly so as to take on the “main exam” i.e. the Lok Sabha polls which they say would be a clean sweep.
Mahesh Inder Singh Grewal, political advisor to Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, opined that the presence of NDA's prime ministerial candidate in Jagraon would have a positive impact on the electorate.
On the other hand, SAD youth wing, in association with the district presidents, is once again on its job to make arrangements to ferry people to the rally venue. Requesting anonymity, a veteran Akali leader said, “The private transporters are avoiding to cross paths with the Akali leaders. Even the village sarpanches fear that they would be ordered not only to spare their vehicles but also pay for the fuel bills. Similarly, a large number of private colleges and institutes have also received advanced notices to keep the fleets of buses ready for the rally.”
At the same time, the aspiring leaders among BJP workers are seeing the rally as a chance to show their presence to the BJP stalwarts like national president Rajnath Singh, Arun Jaitley, Sushma Swaraj and Nitin Gadkari.