BJP ready to ''arrange a crowd'' for Sonia in MP

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Bhopal, Oct 15 (UNI) The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is ready to extend its services to ''arrange a crowd'' for Congress President Sonia Gandhi's public meeting at Bhopal or elsewhere in Madhya Pradesh, state Public Works Minister Kailash Vijaygargiya said today.

The BJP Minister's ''offer'' came in the wake of Madhya Pradesh Congress Committee chief Suresh Pachouri's allegation that police authorities succumbed to ''BJP government pressure'' by declining to allot the historic Lal Parade ground in the state capital for Ms Gandhi's October 19 public meeting.

Talking to reporters here, Mr Vijayvargiya clarified that the police -- while conveying their inability to allot the ground on the appointed day -- had offered to make the ground available on any day after October 21 as preparations were already underway for the Police Commemoration Day parade. Such a national event could not be postponed for a political rally, he added.

He suggested that the Jamboree Maidan in the Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited township area, which could accommodate up to five lakh people, was most suitable for Ms Gandhi's rally. In a lighter vein, he said, ''if necessary I am prepared to arrange an adequate crowd for Ms Gandhi's meeting at Jamboree Maidan, where BJP leader L K Advani also addressed a public meeting recently. It is an issue concerning the state's prestige.'' The Minister clarified that Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan ''has personal regard for all national leaders and Ms Gandhi is a respected leader for all of us.'' When reminded that he was also a ''crowd organiser'' for Bharatiya Jan Shakti Founder-President and former chief minister Uma Bharti's rally, Mr Vijayvargiya quipped, ''I am considering to take up contract work for crowd management.'' Condemning an attack on senior Sangh Parivar leaders at Indore, he alleged that it was a pre-poll conspiracy to defame him.

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