The heart of Kolkata was drowned in a deluge of saffron on Tuesday as thousands of BJP workers — many of them dancing, singing and chanting “Modi, Modi” — took part in party President Amit Shah’s road show ahead of the seventh and final phase of the Lok Sabha elections on May 19.
The colourful procession wound its way from the Shahid Minar in central Kolkata to the Dharamtala Crossing, Lenin Sarani and Subodh Mallick Square amid constant shouts of “Jai Shree Ram”.
Shah stood on a truck, accompanied by Kolkata North candidate Rahul Sinha, state party chief Dilip Ghosh and senior party leader Mukul Roy. Visibly pleased at the crowd response, he waved to the people and also folded his hands in the traditional greeting of namaste.
BJP Rajya Sabha member Roopa Ganguly, once famous as the ‘Draupadi’ of tele-serial Mahabharat, egged on the crowd as the sound boxes blared “Modi sarkar, fir ek bar” (Once again Modi government) slogan.
Innumerable saffron balloons were released and the streets were bedecked with flower petals, which included 10,000 kg of marigold bought from Bagnan in the Howrah district.
Amid showering of petals, Shah’s road show continued to grow in size with more and more people joined in. Thousands more watched the spectacle from balconies, shops, roadside buildings and pavements, embellished with huge cut-outs of Shah and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Half an hour into the programme, large stretches of the city hub came to a standstill, with a sea of humanity participating in the road show, the likes of which the city has rarely seen.
It was more than a mere political programme. The cultural side was hard to miss. Artists, brought from several states and districts, performed song and dance routines, to present the culture of their various areas.
Punjab’s bhangra, tribal dance of Chhattisgarh’s Bastar region, Rajasthan folk, and popular dance forms of eastern Indian states, like Odisha and Bengal, caught the attention of bystanders.
Over 100 pick-up trucks carried activists, and more than 500 male and female ‘dhakis’ (drummers), as also ‘Bauls’ (roving minstrels of Bengal) and classical dancers lent colour to the road show, IANS reported.