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Code shadow over yatra

STRETCH of 60 kms in Sehore district on Bhopal-Indore Road unmistakably belongs to the Election Commission as L K Advani?s Bharat Suraksha Yatra must have realised today.

india Updated: Apr 28, 2006 14:12 IST

STRETCH of 60 kms in Sehore district on Bhopal-Indore Road unmistakably belongs to the Election Commission as L K Advani’s Bharat Suraksha Yatra must have realised today.

Silence was perceptible in the yatra on this stretch. Roads wore a deserted look and police personnel ensured that no vehicle other than those part of the yatra entered Sehore till the former BJP president’s motorcade passed off from there.

For once, it appeared that police personnel were strictly ensuring compliance with the model code of conduct in Sehore district as Budhni assembly constituency is part of the district.

A cop blocking the road with a team of constables on Sehore by-pass made it clear that vehicles could be allowed only one at a time and the next one to follow only after two minutes. His fear was, as he said, any of the seven-eight vehicles he had ordered to stop could catch up with Advani’s convoy and more than three

private vehicles in the convoy could attract EC’s attention. He checked time and allowed a vehicle to move. Most of these vehicles belonged to mediapersons.

Stranded on the road was also an Intelligence Bureau (IB) team whose members’ plea went unheard of despite their introduction to the policemen.

It was only after an IB sleuth sought the intervention of a higher-up on cellphone that the team was allowed to move on. The policemen however ensured that no embarrassment was caused to Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan over any violation of code of conduct.

To avoid a stare from the EC, Advani’s rath moved from Bhopal early without Advani in it. And so did a number of leaders and workers including Sushma Swaraj.

They proceeded to Indore in different groups so that the number of vehicles in a group was not more than three. Advani proceeded from Bhopal about 3.15 pm when everything fell in place. Not a single BJP flag fluttered on any of the cars. In fact, for the yatris, the model code of conduct began at Bhopal outskirts itself.

After Bairagarh there was no welcome gate erected by the BJP workers for a stretch of about 100 km up to Daulatganj village.

To top it all, as a leader disclosed, the workers on the route had been asked to keep indoors and none of the leaders in the groups of convoy even did ‘namaste’ to the gatherings of people on the roadside. Such was the scare of model code of conduct. The usual slogans coined at Advani’s meetings like “Advani tum sangharsh karo hum tumhare saath hain”, “Desh ka neta kaisa ho Advaniji jaisa ho” were not heard at all during this journey.

That the leaders in groups skirted Sehore town via by-pass showed how religiously the model code of conduct was complied with.

Advani’s convoy had about ten cars and jeeps including only three private vehicles, others occupied by the security personnel. Advani was accompanied by his wife and certain leaders.