Goa BJP eyes on rally, not Gujarat

| 11 April 2002 21:33 IST

The whole country is curious to know what transpires at the three-day BJP national executive meeting beginning here tomorrow in the background of Gujarat carnage, Ayodhya episode and party's debacle in all the polls, but not the Goa leaders.

For the ruling saffron brigade in Goa, the eyes are set on a huge mammoth rally, to be addressed by Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and other top party leaders tomorrow evening, as a launch for the campaign of Assembly polls scheduled next month.

"Goa will begin a new chapter, showing the road towards victory", claims Laxmikant Parsekar, the local party president. Perhaps this is the reason why the local leaders impressed upon the central leadership to shift the meeting venue from Pune to Goa.

Though they are little worried because of the ongoing communal tensions in Gujarat, the Goa leaders feel that one impressive rally by Vajpayee and home minister L K Advani could change the minds of the educated lot of Goa. They have demanded that Pramod Mahajan, the star speaker of Goa, also speaks.

Breaking all the past records of any party till date which was not more than 15 to 20,000, the saffron brigade is targeting for around one lakh crowd at Campal grounds, along the river Mandovi in Panaji.

Besides arranging 800 buses and other private transport, the ruling party has sent special invitations itself to around 5000 dignitaries of the state to attend the rally. Amidst tight security arrangements, the rally will begin at around 5 pm.

Separating media totally from the delegates by setting up a media centre almost one kilometre away from the meeting venue - Hotel Marriott Resort near the Miramar beach, the office bearers will meet there tomorrow morning to finalise the agenda.

Party president Jana Krishnamurthy, who arrived here today morning along with other office bearers as well as former president Kushabhau Thackeray, will inaugurate the meeting at 4 pm tomorrow, before they proceed for the public rally.

The actual national executive meeting would thus begin only on Saturday morning, while the secular-minded citizens of Goa have organised a silent protest march in the city against the communal tensions being whipped up in the country, especially in Gujarat.

"No journalist will be allowed to enter near the banquet hall of the Hotel Marriott where the meeting will be on", says Sanjiv Desai, the local party treasurer. Claiming it to be precaution for security reasons, they are prepared to get any leader, even for the interview, at the media centre - Hotel Nova Goa. All the official press briefings will also take place at the media centre, situated in the heart of the city.

It will be thus a tough time for the journalists to dig out the news, besides official briefings on political and economic resolutions, as the party will not only introspect on debacles in polls but also the Gujarat situation vis-à-vis agenda of Hindutva, which may ultimately also decide fate of Narendra Modi.

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