Rallies at the time of sun-stroke!



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Biju Janta Dal's ‘Vijay Vikash Samabesh' on April 03 could have not been timed more badly. The venue was the Rajmarg leading from the state Assembly to the railway station. The occasion was touted as a historic one because the NCP boss was to share the stage with Left leaders.

The morning was warm and humid from the very beginning and as the day progressed, it looked like an afternoon by 9.30; with the mercury touching almost 38C by 11 am. With the sun spitting fire from above, it was a virtual noon by then, life in the city got slower and slower under the impact of an unrelenting April solstice.

Each of us in the media fraternity were left to sizzle in the heat and humidity emanating from the wide metal road. On the huge stage of ' Vijay...', right in front of us all, was virtually empty except the drying garlands of flower trying to hold the dying spirit of the 'samabesh ' from sinking. Rows of over a thousand chairs stretching far off were literally empty, and who in the world can risk scalding his skin on those hot blow-plast furnitures!

However, braving the blistering heat a few groups of party workers started surging towards the stage, holding high party flags and shouting slogans, but in few seconds those cheerleaders were seen lost from the sight taking shelter under the road side trees. And the festive dins were too short lived. In the midst of this disorder, some high decibel crackers were exploded like an artillery salute thundering all the way into the nerves of all those present at the site.

Slowly some leaders were seen ascending the stage and hastily positioning themselves on the cushions falling within the range of the two coolers fixed on both sides of the stage to protect the VIPs away from the very torture the media and the people were meted with on the boiling metal track.

Suddenly the news that NCP chief Sharad Pawar was not coming, further added to the discomfort. Immediately phone calls from the channels came pounding on the reporters who had to quickly line up before their respective cameras to analyse the possible political chemistry that might emerge from the boiling laboratory of politics without a Pawar.

The empty chairs stood there in silent protest. None dared to look at them but, the leaders on the stage did. Unrolling their sheets of papers they kept addressing the empty chairs in front (cameras were capturing their looks after all), taking about the prosperity of the populace. Some of the leaders from the Left camp even said that, the “endless expanse of the cheering crowd here” ( while hardly less than a thousand could be seen sulking under the trees, resting or cooling themselves with a fresh peeled cucumber), speak volumes about their Love and faith on BJD-Left-NCP new combine' . It was impossible to reconcile the love of the leaders with the empty chairs!

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, in fact, wrapped up the meeting with his Oriya speech in his inimitable style of distorting the idioms, much to the amusement of one and all there. The last laugh!

The only people who had to control their laugh were the personnel forming the invincible police cordons with no one to break them.

After all those exercises, this author could not resist the temptation to ask one of the lead organizers from the Biju Janta Dal that, what was that wisdom that led his party to choose such a paralyzing hot desolate noon for a public meeting?

' Vaastu ! ' he confided.