Zee Media Bureau
Hyderabad: In yet another indication that the BJP is trying to capitalise on the growing popularity of its ‘Hindutva’ icon Narendra Modi, the party has decided to charge Rs 5 from anyone who wants to attend the Gujarat Chief Minister’s rally in Hyderabad scheduled next month.
Reports, Monday, said that the party will donate the money raised from Modi’s Hyderabad rally to help in the relief and rehabilitation of Uttarakhand floods victims.
Taking a dig at other political parties, the BJP said that while other parties pay big money to ensure large gatherings for their rallies, Modi is such a huge political force who can alone pull a large number of people despite an entry free.
"Other parties ferry people for their public meetings. The idea of collecting the nominal amount is to encourage seriousness and commitment. We will contribute the collected amount towards Uttarakhand relief," state BJP spokesman N Ramachandra Rao told reporters.
And, keeping in mind Modi`s following in the virtual world, the registration can be done online. The registration process began recently and will continue till August 10.
The Lal Bahadur Stadium in central Hyderabad is the venue for the meeting and the target is to mobilise one lakh people in the age group of 18-40, Rao said.
BJP aims to reach out to the large crowd of IT professionals and college students in the tech-savvy Andhra Pradesh capital, he said.
About 40,000 people have already registered and the party hopes that it will go up to at least 70,000, Rao said.
Modi`s rally was originally scheduled for July 27 but was postponed to August 11 in view of the Gram Panchayat elections.
Interestingly, the BJP is promoting the event as a "youth rally" targeting a demographic of 18-40. The Gujarat Chief Minister this week addressed students at Pune`s famous Fergusson College over the weekend.
Few months back, Modi interacted with students at Delhi`s prestigious Shriram College of Commerce or SRCC where descriptors of the youth like "new-age power" received rave reviews from the audience.
The firebrand BJP leader has once again triggered a controversy by comparing the 2002 communal riots of Gujarat to the running over of a puppy in an interview this week.
During the interview, Modi’s said that he felt "sad" over the violence just the way one would feel "bad" when a car runs over a puppy.
With his comments drawing sharp political reactions, Modi later tweeted, "In our culture every form of life (including puppies) is valued and worshipped." However, his critics remain unappeased.