BJP national executive meet: 70,000 people wait for hours to catch glimpse of PM Modi

Thousands of people thronged the sides of the eight-kilometer route that Prime Minister Narendra Modi travelled through on his way to the BJP national executive meeting in Bhubaneswar.

How many hours can you stand in the scorching sun with mercury hovering over 40 degrees, to get a glimpse of your Prime Minister?

Ask Amulya Ranjan Gochhayh, a geologist and Sanjay, an auto rickshaw driver, Paiyo Mohalik from Bhadrak or a delegation of villagers, mostly farmers and poor workers from Cuttack, who had come from different parts of Odisha and waited for several hours before Prime Minister Narendra Modi started his "show stopper" road show, a replay of Varanasi on Bhubaneswar streets on Saturday afternoon.

They along with thousands others had gathered along the route of the roadshow hours before the PM even touched down at the city airport. But they showed no signs of tiring out before seeing the PM.

The nearly 8-km road show starting from Bhubaneswar Airport to Janta Maidan, where PM Modi was to finally meet his cabinet colleagues, state chief ministers and top BJP leadership for the National Executive meeting, passed through Odisha's capital's landmark spots - Raj Bhavan to Jaidev Vihar Square, giving the ruling Naveen Patnaik-led Biju Janata Dal so3me jitters and anxious moments.

A FUN AFFAIR

With a simple hope that he is coming to Odisha to change their lives, end unemployment, curb corruption and lift the social status of local poor, people from different parts of the state made waiting for their PM a fun affair amidst blaring music, some traditional dance steps by women and drum beats by their menfolk behind the barricades put up all along the VIP route sanitised for PM upto Janta Maidan.

"Kucch to karega, hum to unko dekhne aaya hai (something he will do, I have come to see him)," said Akul Raut, a farmer from Badamba in Cuttuck district.

While the local party leaders claimed that the crowd on streets to be in lakhs, even by conservative estimates, it was well over 70,000-80,000.

Union petroleum minister and BJP leader from Odisha, Dharmendra Pradhan, told Mail Today, "The people of Odisha gathered on Bhubaneswar's streets to thank their Prime Minister for his pro-poor policies benefitting Odisha poor households. The credibility of the Prime Minister would be a game changer in the state."

Pradhan said: "Odisha is a laboratory for the Modi government's pro-poor policies in the country. His credibility index among the poor is very high and they have conveyed their true feeling about him in the recent zila panchayat elections where we came close second to the ruling BJD."

A farmer echoed his views. "We want to be free of unemployment and poverty."

The BJP sees this as a chance after the results in Uttar Pradesh where the landslide victory conveys voters' belief in Modi's development politics and his style of governance.

Modi's roadshow in Odisha capital is critical to BJP's plan to form the next government in 2019 elections and also extend the saffron surge in other eastern and southern states.

State BJP vice-president Sameer Mohanty said he was simply 'stunned' by the crowd response to the rally.

Speaking on phone while he was finding it tough to keep pace with PM's car route, he said: "I have not seen such a response in Bhubaneswar for any BJP leader...I am in politics for over 35 years now. This is something unprecedented and a message comes out clear - time to work to change the BJD government."

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