The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has pulled out all the stops to ensure people show up for the rally led by its prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi. As a result, citizens can expect crowded railway stations this Sunday, when the rally will be held at Bandra-Kurla Complex (BKC).
Nearly 45,000 supporters of Modi and the BJP are expected to attend the rally from different parts of Maharashtra, and also from neighbouring states. In order to ensure smooth travelto Mumbai for them, the BJP has booked 22 special long-distance trains.
In all, the railways have arranged for 44 special trains between December 21 and December 23. People from all over Maharashtra will be coming into the city for the rally and both Central Railway (CR) and Western Railway (WR) would be operating extra trains.
Supporters from neighbouring states will have to come to connecting stations in Maharashtra (see box for details) and then change over to the special trains being run by CR and WR. “We have been asked to run special trains from different places of Maharashtra and get them to Mumbai,” said a WR official.
CR will be running 12 trains, while WR will be operating 10 trains on December 21 and get Modi followers for the rally on Sunday morning.
Sources in CR said that the BJP had booked these trains by making full payment as per existing tariffs via the IRCTC. The trains will cover important stations like Thane, Lokmanya Tilak Terminus, Dadar and Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) on CR, and Bandra Terminus and Mumbai Central on WR. People would then be transported by local trains or buses to BKC.
According to officials, each train has 18 coaches (1AC, 2AC and 3AC), as well as sleeper coaches. Each train will have a capacity to carry 2,000-2,200 passengers but overcrowding is quite likely.
A senior CR official clarified, “There won’t be any rescheduling of existing trains entering Mumbai.” Railway authorities will have these trains run between 10 pm and 6 am and follow the same pattern while taking them back to their respective locations on Sunday night after the rally.
These are being operated as any other holiday special trains that are usually seen during summer, Diwali or Christmasvacations.
“If the schedule of other trains would have been affected, then railways wouldn’t have given permission. Also, we are in touch with the local police and other authorities to ensure smooth transportation from railway stations for our supporters,” said Ashish Shelar, chief of BJP’s Mumbai unit.
The BJP has called upon people from Solapur, Latur, Amravati, Parli, Dhamangaon, Aurangabad, Bhusawal, Nasik, Nagpur, Balharshah Junction and other places in the state. Both CR and WR will operate special trains, connecting other special trains run by other railway zones in the neighbouring states. This means that if people are coming from Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and Madhya Pradesh, they will alight at the above stations and board these special trains run by CR and WR.
Number of trains being run by CR for the event
Number of trains being run by WR for the event
Number of trains being run by Indian Railways for the event
>> 4 trains up to Dadar
>> 3 trains each till CST, LTT
>> 2 trains will go up to Thane
>> 4 trains up to Mumbai Central
>> 4 trains up to Bandra Terminus
>> 2 trains will go up to Dadar