Bharatiya Janata Party’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi will take on Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar on Sunday when he addresses the Hunkar rally at Gandhi Maidan in Patna.
The rally aims to achieve multiple objectives for BJP. It will be a show of strength against Kumar who parted ways with National Democratic Alliance (NDA) a few days ahead of Modi’s anointment as the prime ministerial candidate. The rally also aims to woo minority voters in the state who comprise the traditional vote-bank of Kumar’s JD-U besides Rashtriya Janata Dal and Congress.
“We are expecting 5 lakh people to attend the rally. It will be a grand success as people from all walks of life and all strata of society are expected to attend it. The flavour of the rally would be traditional with members of all communities, including fishermen, minorities, etc attending the rally in their traditional attire,” said Mangal Pandey, president of Bihar BJP.
The party plans to address national and state-level issues in the rally. The rally is expected to start at 11 am and will be addressed by state leaders and officials. Modi is scheduled to arrive at 1 pm. “During the rally, issues like corruption-free government at the Centre, demand for special status for Bihar, hardships of common man due to price rise and back-stabbing by Nitish Kumar are likely to be addressed,” Pandey added.
The rally has already generated curiosity and controversies alike. For this rally, President Pranab Mukherjee had to cancel his visit to the state. Interestingly, the scale of organisation of the rally has caught the attention of the income tax department which has issued notice to the state unit of the party. Meanwhile, BJP alleged that workers of Janta Dal (United), the party in power in the state, were disturbing preparations on the ground.
“There are complaints that some JD (U) workers are stopping people or pulling down posters of Hunkar rally. However, we do not want any confrontation with them. We have requested the administration to make necessary security arrangements,” Pandey said.
The party has made grand preparations for the rally. It has prepared two separate stages at the venue, one of which will be occupied by state leaders and party office-bearers while Modi and other national leaders will remain present on the second or main stage. Three large LCD screens have been set up on the ground. BJP has booked 11 special trains and nearly 5,000 buses to ferry workers and supporters to Patna. It was probably this extravaganza that promoted the income tax department’s TDS section to serve notice on the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) state unit, seeking details of the rally expenditure and payments to contractors.