A colourful sea of humanity, all for Behenji

February 24th, 2008 - 8:07 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Bahujan Samaj Party

New Delhi, Feb 24 (IANS) It had the look of a country fair, but of a political variety, as hundreds of thousands of men, women and even children in colourful clothes, with blue predominating, thronged the capital’s Ramlila grounds Sunday to hear Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati speak. Vendors selling books, audio and video cassettes, badges, life sized posters, trophies and other trinkets, all either on Mayawati or Dalit icon B.R. Ambedkar lined the entrance gates of the ground.

It was a sea of humanity, with women in black burqas and colourful saris, men in kurtas and caps, children and the elderly arriving in hordes in buses and trucks, holding banners and shouting slogans.

Blue was the dominant colour of caps and flags - the trademark colour of the BSP.

Some took the Metro while still others came on foot. The thronging crowds led to traffic snarls near the venue.

Shouting slogans such as “Sare Dilli Mein Ek hi shor, Haathi Chalo Vijay ki Ore” (Delhi is echoing with only one slogan, the elephant (party symbol) is moving towards victory), “Behenji hum aapke saath hai” (Behenji we are with you) and “BSP zindabad” people alighted from the buses and entered the ground with enthusiasm, dancing, singing and carrying banners.

“We have come to listen to Behenji (or elder sister, as Mayawati is called by her supporters),” said Ashok Mandal, who came all the way from Gorakhpur in a bus with his entire family for the BSP’s ‘Sarv Samaj Bhaichara’ (brotherhood rally).

“It’s a great occasion, to have an opportunity to come and hear her and lend her our support. I couldn’t have missed this for anything. She is a great leader,” Mandal told IANS with his wife, son, daughter-in-law and grandson standing by.

The huge crowds meant good business for Ratan Pal Gautam, a vendor. “This CD has songs on Behenji and is for Rs.30. This one is for Rs.50 because it’s special and has songs dedicated to Behenji on her birthday,” said Gautam as he showed the list of singers on the CD - Sonu Nigam, Kailash Kher and Tavel Ali to name a few.

“Mission education”, “Naya Savera” (A new morning) and “For Social Development” were some of the CDs most in demand.

“My sales have been very good. And it’s going to be even better once people start going out of the grounds. I sell all these things in all of Behenji’s rallies,” Gautam smiled, clearly happy at the massive turn out at the rally.

According to Ashok Prasad, one of the many policemen posted at the gates, the number of people gathered could be more than 100,00.

“People have been coming in since morning. Those who have come from far arrived earlier,” he said even as another truck and a bus filled with people stopped at the gates.

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