Party workers from 20 states to participate in BSP meet

August 7th, 2008 - 11:03 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Bahujan Samaj Party

Lucknow, Aug 7 (IANS) Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) representatives from 20 states are expected to converge here for the party’s national workers meet Saturday. While bulk of the estimated 250,000-odd crowd is expected to arrive from different parts of Uttar Pradesh, where the party is in power, at least 40,000 are likely to arrive from states as far as Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Orissa and Punjab.

While party president and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati has termed it a “workers meet”, the administrative machinery as well as local party cadres see the gathering as just another pre-poll rally.

No wonder, therefore, that the administration was making elaborate arrangements for a mammoth gathering.

Keeping in mind the stampede that followed a BSP rally in September 2002, leaving 19 dead, officials are leaving nothing to chance when it came to security.

“In view of what had happened in Ahmedabad and Bangalore (serial bomb blasts), we have to be doubly sure about keeping the venue sanitized,” said a top police official closely monitoring security arrangements.

About 5,000 policemen and an equal number of Home Guards will be on duty not only to maintain a strict vigil but also to regulate the flow of the crowds.

The level of security can be gauged from the fact that the arrangements will be directly supervised by a deputy inspector general of police.

Five officers of superintendent of police rank, 24 of assistant superintendent rank, 60 deputy SPs, 80 inspectors, 740 sub-inspectors and 2,000 constables will spread out across the sprawling 42-acre venue and the routes leading from various entry points to the Ramabai Ambedkar ground.

The ground was created barely 10 months ago when the party held its first mammoth rally here in October 2007.

What, however, caused much chagrin to the organisers was the sudden heavy downpour Thursday, leading to heavy water-logging at the venue. Special teams of the Lucknow Development Authority (LDA) were rushed to pump out water from the ground that looked almost like a lake.

“We are keeping our fingers crossed and praying to rain gods to let it remain dry for the next two days,” said an LDA official struggling to keep the ground slush-free.

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