Mumbai: BJP tries to save face after losing 'vision' in Virar

Updated: Sep 02, 2019, 07:54 IST | Samiullah Khan

Angry people created a ruckus at the party office and complained to Virar police. However, an organiser later claimed that they managed to arrange buses for all the devotees

Many people including children were stranded outside the BJP office for over 24 hours when the Konkan Vision luxury buses didn't arrive, till alternative arrangements were made by the organisers. Pic/Hanif Patel
Many people including children were stranded outside the BJP office for over 24 hours when the Konkan Vision luxury buses didn't arrive, till alternative arrangements were made by the organisers. Pic/Hanif Patel

With an eye on the upcoming assembly elections, the Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) Kamgar Aghadi Sanghatana attempted to woo voters by arranging buses from Virar to the Konkan for the Ganesh festival, but ended angering many of them, when their rides did not arrive. Many devotees were stuck for over 24 hours waiting for their buses. Angry people created a ruckus at the party office and complained to Virar police. However, an organiser later claimed that they managed to arrange buses for all the devotees.

The BJP and the Shiv Sena had arranged for buses to the Konkan for Ganpati. The Sena's buses were well arranged. The buses were to leave for the Konkan on August 29, 30 and 31. The BJP had up banners announcing the Konkan Vision luxury bus service at cheap fares. Hundreds of devotees booked tickets for R500 and R600 from the BJP office situated at Om Regency in Manvel Pada, Virar east a couple of months back. But many were stuck outside the party office from where the buses were to leave, when some did not arrive.

Buses arrival delayed

Shital Ninave, a Virar resident, was going to celebrate the Ganesh festival along with her seven family members. She had booked the tickets two months ago for R4,200. She said, "At 2 pm we were told that the bus would leave at 7 pm. It was not possible for us to go home and come back. The bus did not arrive till late night. These people should be punished."

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Amit (surname not known) said, "About 50 people from our village paid R35,000 cash to book an entire bus. But it did not come." It is learnt they made other arrangements to go to their village. This reporter tried to call main organiser Uday Shetty, district president BJP Kamgar Aghadi Sanghatana, but his phone was switched off.

However, Vaibhav Gavde, one of the organisers, said, "Around 52 route buses were arranged for the Konkan for the Ganesh Utsav from August 30 to September 1. Of these, 37 routes went smoothly but due to the bad road conditions and also because each of our buses had to stop for toll (we were told we wouldn't have to pay toll before), some arrived late and were delayed for departure. The crowd also increased. But we made arrangements for 4 to 5 buses and sent everyone on their way. Those who cancelled will get their money back."

BJP speak

Subhash Satam, Palghar District President, BJP, who launched the Konkan Vision luxury bus service, said, "What happened has brought disrepute to the party. Shetty said his workers did not make proper arrangements." Anil Dabde, senior police inspector, Virar police station said, "Today one of the organisers arranged for several buses and sent the devotees to Konkan. He said he will return the money to those who could not go."

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