Wary BJP to clean up Wankhede Stadium after lavish swearing-in
With the new Maharashtra government set to take oath today, party is going the extra mile to ensure the premises are spotlessly clean, to avoid criticism of not practising what it preaches
The first BJP-led government in the state seeks to begin on a clean slate, literally. With the new government set to take oath in a lavish ceremony at Wankhede stadium, the party is going the extra mile to ensure the premises are spotlessly clean, lest the new government be criticised for not practising what they preach a clean India.
Preparations for the oath-taking ceremony are all in full swing at Wankhede stadium. 300 party workers will comb every inch of the stadium for garbage, claimed BJP leaders. Pic/Pradeep Dhivar
With the launch of Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi’s Swachh Bharat mission, the BJP is wary of the barbs it will receive if there is garbage left behind after CM-designate Devendra Fadnavis and his top cabinet ministers are sworn in on Friday. Hence, 300 volunteers will be deployed to scour every corner of the stadium to pick up trash.
mid-day’s October 6 report on the Sena-BJP’s slugfest over the clean-up of Mahalaxmi Racecourse
This is also a case of once bitten, twice shy, as the Shiv Sena had stolen the party’s thunder when they cleaned up the Mahalaxmi Racecourse after it had been sullied post the PM’s Assembly campaign rally earlier this month.
mid-day had reported that the two parties had indulged in a war of words, with the Sena claiming credit and slamming the BJP for not acting on the PM’s mission, and the BJP calling it a publicity gimmick (BJP, Sena slug it out over Racecourse clean-up).
In the spotlight
Confirming the development, Atul Shah, spokesperson for the BJP, said, “Not only cleaning the ground, we will even use a magnetic sweeper so that not even a nail is left behind. We will not leave a single piece of garbage in the stadium.”
The party is weary of the glare that comes with the centre stage. “All media outlets and every person in the country will be watching the ceremony. Even if there is a single report the next day that there was garbage at the stadium and the BJP had left it unclean, we will be in the docks. All our efforts will be wasted,” confessed a senior party leader.
The volunteers will be divided into various groups, and these groups take charge of various pavilions that will be occupied by workers, media, VVIPs and others. Every corner will be cleaned thoroughly, claimed a BJP leader. The stadium has a capacity of 35,000, but the party expects around 40,000 attendees.
Sources said there is chaos over procuring passes for the event; many MLAs have been asked to show up without their families, since there are fewer passes to give out. This even prompted senior leader Eknath Khadse to call up Fadnavis, asking him to take care of the issue as this is the party’s first ever swearing-in ceremony in the state, sources added.
Upset Sena may skip ceremony
The Shiv Sena has been affronted by the way the BJP handled the issue of their alliance. “We have constantly been humiliated by the BJP, which has not gone down well with our MLAs. As our MLAs feel that BJP did not give us due respect, why should we attend the oath-taking ceremony?” Sena’s Ratnagiri-Sindhudurg MP Vinayak Raut said.
When asked if the scheduled meeting with BJP leaders for discussing a possible alliance had been called off, Raut said no talks had been scheduled, so there was no question of cancellation. Neelam Gorhe, MLC and party spokesperson, said, “We have left it to our party president. The official decision whether to attend the function might be taken by tomorrow morning (today).”
Rajiv Pratap Rudy, senior BJP leader, said, “We have invited everyone, and expect that when, for the first time, the BJP’s CM will take oath, all political parties remain present. Had the swearing-in been a bit late, we would have accommodated the Sena,” Rudy said.