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Narendra Modi's fast tomorrow, Jaya sends emissaries, Badal to come

Narendra Modi's fast tomorrow, Jaya sends emissaries, Badal to come

Author: PTI
Publication: The Times of India
Date: September 16, 2011
URL: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Narendra-Modis-fast-tomorrow-Jaya-sends-emissaries-Badal-to-come/articleshow/10008409.cms

Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi kicks of his three-day fast tomorrow with support also coming from his counterparts from Tamil Nadu and Punjab -- Jayalalithaa and Prakash Singh Badal-- and Shiv Sena leaders.

Badal, leader of key BJP ally Shiromani Akali Dal, will be personally present on the first day of the fast while the AIADMK chief is despatching two emissaries M Thambidurai and V Maitreyan.

The BJP leadership including L K Advani will be in strength at the fast venue at the state-of-the-art Convention Centre of Gujarat University here, as hectic last minute preparations were underway today.

However, it is not clear whether the other NDA constituents, especially the JD(U), would be following Badal's example.

After the Supreme Court verdict in a Gujarat riots case on Monday that gave him some relief, Modi announced a fast for three days calling it a 'Sadbhavna Mission' for peace, unity and harmony in the state.

State BJP spokesperson Vijay Rupani told reporters that Arun Jaitley, Sushma Swaraj and Rajnath Singh will be also present. BJP President Nitin Gadkari will not be present as he is recuperating after undergoing a gastric by-pass surgery.

Ravi Shankar Prasad, Shahnawaz Hussain, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, Hema Malini and Smriti Irani will be among other party leaders who will attend the fast.

"Besides, NDA allies like Akali Dal's Punjab's chief minister Prakash Singh Badal and Shiv Sena leaders will also come," he said, adding, "Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaji has supported Modi's fast and will be sending two emissaries M Thambidurai and V Maitreyan."

Modi and Jayalalithaa share good vibes and the BJP leader had attended the swearing-in ceremony of the AIADMK leader when she took over as chief minister in May this year.

Official sources told PTI in Chandigarh that Badal will visit Ahmedabad tomorrow and return the same evening after attending the ceremony.

In an apparent countermove, the Congress is also launching a parallel fast.

In comparison to Modi's venue, a modest stage was erected on the footpath opposite the Sabarmati Ashram for Congress leaders including Shankarsinh Vaghela to undertake the fast.

Congress has sought permission for a gathering of only 500 people, while the GU Convention Centre has the capacity to house 25,000 people.

Congress spokesperson Manish Doshi said the party has made modest arrangements for the fast to held on a footpath.

"We have only erected a stage on which our leaders will sit, while our supporters will be on the road," he said.

The party had yesterday dubbed Modi's fast as a "five star fast to be held in an air-conditioned hall".

According to sources in the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC), a small room at the GU Convention Hall has been converted into a rest room for Modi.

Gujarat government has also made specific arrangements to provide real time information about what would be happening at Modi's fast venue.

People have been asked to give a missed call on a toll free number to get live updates of the action at the venue through SMS.

The entire three-day event can be witnessed by those with internet access through live webcast on Modi's official website.

Meanwhile, the police commissioner's office has received a number of applications seeking permission to fast with Modi at different places in the city.

The applications are under process and most probably permission would be given if there is no security problem, city police commissioner Sudhir Sinha said.

Tight security arrangements have been made at fast venues of Modi and Vaghela, Sinha said.

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