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BJP meet to be a dry affair as state reels under drought

There will be little in the form of pizzazz and pageantry at the Bharatiya Janata Party’s national executive meeting, to be held in Mumbai on May 24-25. The prevailing drought-like situation in many parts of the state has cast a long shadow on all the enthusiasm. The party has now decided to make the event an austere affair, unlike the 2005 edition held in Bandra coinciding with BJP’s 25 years of existence.


Bittersweet: A party insider said the event had been planned as a gala affair, given Maharashtra man Nitin Gadkari currently occupies the BJP president’s post, but things have been toned down in view of the drought conditions in the state. File pic

To avoid allegations of extravaganza, senior party leaders will be accommodated in budget hotels at Churchgate and Colaba, a BJP source said. Stalwarts such as Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley, chief ministers of BJP-ruled states, will be lodging in state government guesthouses, such as Sahyadri at Malabar Hill. Personal staffers of senior leaders, who would previously stay at three-star hotels, will be put up in lodges and guesthouses in Fort area. “We are expecting around 425 delegates from across the nation. From organising things at the meeting venue, YB Chavan centre, to coordinating with media, and oversee transport, food and other things, the party has formed different committees headed by leaders from Mumbai to take care of diverse aspects,” the leader said.

Teamwork
Ex-MP Kirit Somaiya, who is heading a committee to mobilise resources, admitted that the meeting was going to be as unpretentious an affair as possible. His team comprises some party bigwigs such as Pratap Ashar, Bharat Parikh, Arvind Desai, MLA Sardar Tara Singh and Anand Pandit. Reins to the accommodation committee have been handed to MLA Mangal Prabhat Lodha. The team of MLA Prakash Mehta and ex-MLA Hemendra Mehta will be responsible for food, while the coordination committee for media consists of Atul Shah, Niranjan Shetty and Vivek Gupta.

When probed about food, Prakash Mehta said the menu was yet to be decided but would be simple. The Mumbai city unit is playing host to the party meeting. “We wanted to make it very successful, as it is happening under the presidentship of Nitin Gadkari, who belongs to the state. At the same time, the party wanted to avoid any criticism from others in view of the drought situation in the state,” said an office bearer of Mumbai BJP. As per the itinerary, the national office bearers will have a meeting on May 23, followed by the full-fledged national executive convention at YB Chavan Centre. The venue will be named Pramod Mahajan Sabhagriha for the duration of the meeting, in memory of the party stalwart who played host during the 2005 edition. The national executive meeting will conclude with a public rally at Kamgar Maidan in Elphinstone, where senior leaders will deliver speeches.  

 

425
The number of delegates expected to attend the event

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