Daily Archives: May 11, 2019

On the Campaign Trail-10: May 6, 7, 8, and 9 Bhopal, MP Sadhvi Pragya Sinh Thakur’s Constituency

May 6, 2019 evening Shivaram Singh’s Roadshow in Bhopal

I flew into Bhopal from Varanasi on May 6th afternoon. It was a circuitous route. I had to fly all the way to Bangalaru, wait three hours and then fly to Bhopal. So, an ordinarily two-hour journey took eight hours. Of course, it was a delight to see Bangalaru’s world-class airport. I was last in Bangalaru in 2006, when the airport was nondescript.

My hosts were Drs. Ajay Shankar and Savita Mehta. I have known them for some time as Ajaybhai is involved with our NGO, Global Indians for Bharat Vikas (GIBV) and he is also, the younger brother of my good friend and the general secretary of Vishwa Hindu Parishad of America (VHPA), Sanjay Mehta. my four-day stay at their home was enjoyable and Ajaybhai’s guidance proved invaluable. The whole family is dedicated to Rashtra Nirman.

Through Ajaybhai’s efforts, I was connected to a youth group, MoMo (Modi Once More), that was participating that evening in Shivraj Singh’s roadshow. I was dropped at Curfewwala mandir chawk (interesting name, isn’t it?) It was jammed pack with the evening traffic and the enthusiastic and swelling crowd of BJP supporters. It was muggy and quite hot too even at 7 PM.  There were a couple of experts who were wrapping Safa (a headgear using a long piece of colored cloth) on the team members. you can see me in the headgear in the photos.

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The young leaders of MoMo group. Rekha Sharma (on the left) was dynamic and full of vigor. Sushant Kaushal took my care as if he were my son. He held onto my hand most of the time to make sure that I wouldn’t get separated. Such loving people!

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A sea of saffron Safas (headgear)!

There were drums, band, lighted canopies, balloons, flowers, and all the paraphernalia that go into making a roadshow, a “show.” The noise was deafening and the surge of the crowd was crushing.  We had to wait for a good two hours before the caravan of Shivraj Singh Ji, the ex-chief minister of Madhya Pradesh, arrived from another rally which was about 100 KMs away. Shivraj Singh Ji is popularly known as Mama.  He was quite hassled and looked tired but energetic. Once his roadshow was on the way, we decamped for our own destinations.

These roadshows are unique to Bharat as I haven’t witnessed such things in the USA. I do not know if such shows help change the voter’s mind in favor of a particular party or a candidate but it does help build up momentum and enthuse the cadres.

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You feel young in such settings, no matter what is your chronological age.

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The Roadshow is about to start

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They put a t-shirt four sizes smaller on me (only one available), but hey! Who cares. I was proud to don it along with the scarf and the safa.

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The Dhol competition and spirited, impromptu dance by Rekha Sharma

A glimpse of the Josh!

One reason, there was so much interest, was the candidacy of Sadhwi Pragya Sinh Thakur, who has become a symbol of Satyagraha against  Hindu Terror bogey crafted by the Willey Congress party and promoted by Digvijay Singh, who as the Congress candidate for Bhopal is Sadwiji’s Bete Noire.

I reached my host picked me up and we reached home after 9 PM. At about 11:30 pm we went back to Sadhwiji’s residence and waited for her. She was out campaigning and returned only after 12:30 AM. She was totally exhausted so Dr. Ajay Mehta introduced me to her briefly and we decided to meet again. I conveyed to her that hundreds of volunteers from across the globe were working for her victory.

 

 

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