For supporters, Mayawati rally is also a pleasure trip
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If there is any doubt about the prime ministerial aspirations of Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati, then a quick scan of the crowd that has gathered at the camps set up in Smithi Upvan Ground and APS Academy in Lucknow for her rally will dispel it.
Supporters from across the country have been flocking the camps to attend Mayawati's rally at the Ramabhai Ambedkar Maidan on Tuesday. But a close look and a little interaction with the pan-India crowd will reveal that there is more to things that what meets the eye. They apparently are not just here to attend the rally but also to tour Lucknow, thanks to their local BSP leaders who are paying for their jaunt.
Many of them, from as far off places as Kerala and Gujarat, took a free trip of the capital city, especially to memorials and parks built by the BSP supremo, with the help of their local party leaders. Adding vigour to the pan-India feel is the caps, badges and T-shirts with words printed in almost all regional languages.
"I have come to see the memorials and the city," said Shyamji Bhai who was brought by local BSP leader Rameshbhai from Kutch, Gujarat. So is the case with 300 people who have flocked from Wardha in Maharashtra. One of them, Indubai Gote, 50, a farm labourer, said her train fare was paid by the local BSP leader. She said her trip has two purposes — to attend the rally and also do some sightseeing.
"I am a BSP supporter and I vote for the elephant (BSP symbol). If anything is done for us poor it will be by the BSP," said a buoyant Gote, who quickly added that she does not expect anything from Mayawati's speech.
Surprisingly, in the Hindi heartland are many party workers like Ratanlal from Jammu, and Satish and Shaju from Idukki, Kerala, who know little about the language. "This time I have come without any knowledge of Hindi but the next time I will arrive fully trained in Hindi," says Shaju, who is a part of a 500-strong contingent from Kerala.
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