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Dikshit blames strict measures by police for low rally turnout

PTI | Last Updated: Monday, November 18, 2013 - 21:32

New Delhi: After a not so enthusiastic public response to Rahul Gandhi`s rally in South Delhi, Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit on Monday blamed strict security set up and police`s refusal to allow people to carry water as they waited for the leaders at the venue for the situation.

"The security was very tight. People were not allowed to carry water bottle. So they may have been thirsty. When water was not allowed people got little anguished," Dikshit said, when asked about the low turnout as well as why people left before Rahul`s speech at Dakshinpuri rally yesterday.

The Chief Minister said people who had come in the beginning had to wait for long and that could be one of the reasons for leaving the venue before Rahul started his nearly seven-minute-long speech.

She, however, claimed that it was a "good rally" and that the Congress Vice President, who is the party`s star campaigner, delivered an "impressive speech".

"It was a good rally. He delivered an impressive speech," she said.
Playing down the events, I&B minister Manish Tewari said that he did not consider crowds at rallies to be the yardstick of the manner in which people vote.

"I do not think that crowds are an indicator or a benchmark of how people eventually exercise there democratic franchise. Now there are two versions of what happened.

"One version which appeared in several newspapers is with regard to the fact that apparently there were people who started leaving. The other was that unfortunately, the rally was supposed to take place earlier in the afternoon and it was late evening," Tewari said.

He said that there were many people who had come even before the scheduled time of the rally and waited for very long.

He said that people when people exercise their democratic franchise, they do so based upon there appreciation of the track record of government.

The minister said that in the case of BJP the entire resources of the party were diverted for one rally while Congress did multiple rallies.

"It is not that we do one mega event where the entire resources of the organisation are concentrated. Here we do it in a much more segmented manner whereby we try and reach out to people in various areas of Delhi or some other state," Tewari said.

"Let us suppose the Congress had decided we would do only one event in Delhi and then there would have been a problem in that event I would have understood," he added.

Dikshit had to urge a section of the crowd which had gathered for the rally to stay back and listen to Gandhi. Some people were getting restless as they had gathered at the DDA ground to listen to the Congress leader since 10.30 am Gandhi came around 1 pm and spoke a little later.

At the rally venue, Dikshit had also requested police personnel to allow Congress workers distribute water among the people.

BJP had taken a dig at "poor participation" of people at Rahul`s rally on October 27 at Mangolpuri.

First Published: Monday, November 18, 2013 - 21:32
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