Ujjain: Contrary to claims that highly-ambitious ‘jan ashirwad yatra’ is purely a BJP event, facts at ground zero tell a different tale. Crores of rupees are being spent from the government treasury for the yatra, being organised with an eye on Assembly elections 2018, to be launched from the Mahakal City on July 14.
BJP national president Amit Shah will flag-off the yatra on Saturday at Nanakheda Stadium. Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, riding an ultra-modern heavy vehicle, will lead the yatra. The flagging off ceremony will be preceded by a public meeting. Five domes have been prepared on 3.36 lakh square feet for the event. The meeting will be held in central dome. All the domes are fully rainfall protected.
The state BJP (read Madhya Pradesh government) has changed its strategy for the ‘jan ashirwad yatra’. In 2008 and 2013 elections, veteran party leader Lal Krishna Advani and the then party presidents used to flag-off the yatra from Ujjain. Public meetings were organised at Samajik Nyay Parisar, Agar Road. However, it is quite small in comparison to this year’s venue at Nanakheda stadium.
As the NDA is likely to face a tough contest in Lok Sabha Election 2019, the BJP strategists are leaving no stone unturned to ensure success of the event. CM Chouhan’s loyalists have understood that a lukewarm response to the yatra could prove disastrous for their leader.
Party organization along with MPs, MLAs and heads of urban and rural bodies of two key divisions – Ujjain and Indore of Malwa-Nimarh region—have been roped in to ensure success to the event.
Till last year, party used to rely only on the local unit for launch of the yatra. As per the plan, at least 200 buses have been sought from every district of these divisions. Transport minister Bhupendra Singh has already asked to ensure proper arrangement of buses. As such he has been camping in the city for the last couple of days to ensure the arrangement.
Free Press team visited the venue on Wednesday and found JCB machines and other heavy vehicles of Ujjain Municipal Corporation deployed for the work. A pipe line has been layed to pump-out water from the ground. As rains continue to lash the city, more than 200 dumpers of bolder, grit etc have been dumped in the area to prevent ground from turning slippery.
Sources said that municipal authorities have asked a BJP leader, who is also a contractor, to ensure that the ground remains dry. As per estimate, Rs 10 lakh have been spent on the work. A number of vehicles carrying MP-02 (official number of state government vehicles) were also seen carrying hoarding and boards to the venue. The dome arrangements are being managed from Bhopal.
On being asked Ujjain Development Authority chairman and Yatra’s divisional in-charge Jagdish Agrawal denied misuse of government machinery or money. “It is purely a BJP programme and the party is making expenses and not the Madhya Pradesh government,” he sad claiming that no official vehicle has been deployed at Nanakheda Stadium can be cited.