Ambala, Sep 25 (UNI) Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah was among scores of people who were caught in traffic jam and could not make it to the ''Samman Divas'' rally organised to commemorate the 94th birthday of late Deputy Prime Minister Devi Lal here today.
Though the Police had made elaborate arrangements by requisitioning extra reserve battalions to control traffic jams yet the flow of traffic was so gigantic that vehicles remained stuck at the National Highway Number 1 and National Highway Number 65 (Chandigarh-Hissar) for hours.
Dr Abdullah had to return without addressing the rally as he was held up in the traffic jam. Later he left to catch the flight for London to attend his ailing wife.
The cavalcade of former chief ministers of Haryana and Andhra Pradesh, Mr Om Prakash Chautala and Mr Chander Babu Naidu respectively, remained stuck in the traffic jam for more than an hour which delayed their arrival at the venue of the rally.
The Air Force Station here hummed with private aeroplanes and red light vehicles when a glaxy of leaders landed there. Among them were former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mulayam Singh Yadav, Samajwadi Party general secretary Amar Singh, and Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal.
Mr Badal made an announcement that next Samman Divas Rally of Devi Lal would be organised in Punjab. He also informed that a statue had been installed on the Punjab-Haryana border in memory of the late kisan leader.
However, former chief ministers of Tamil Nadu and Madhya Pradesh, Ms Jaya Lalita and Ms Uma Bharati respectively, were conspicuous with their absence.
Shiromani Akali Dal general secretary Prem Singh Chandumajra who was occupying the dais with other leaders was not given chance to address the rally whereas BKU President Mohinder Singh Tikait, Dalit leader from Bihar Vinod Ranga spoke on the occasion.
Fiery INLD speaker Sampat Singh was not given chance to address the rally. The stage was conducted by the INLD Secretary General Ajay Chautala who performed his role as dais manager, skillfully quoting verses from eminent Hindi poets like Dushyant and others. His younger brother Abhey Chautala however, managed outer arrangements and also surveyed the gathering in helicopter which later remained hovering around the rally venue for hours together.
Though leaders paid rich tributes to the late Devi Lal, yet speakers made oblique points to project Mr Om Prakash Chautala as the leader of the Third Morcha.
INLD volunteers smarting green uniform worked dutifully at pandal, media platform, artists gallery and at entry points. A group of 100 kanwarias had brought sacred water of Ganga river from Haridwar to give sacred bath to the statue of Devi Lal installed at Manav Chowk here.