Baramulla- Long queues with people jostling to enter through two narrow gates and excitement writ large on their faces, thousands flocked the Showkat Ali Stadium where Union Home Minister Amit Shah held a rally on Wednesday.
The highest turnout was from Baramulla, Kupwara and Bandipora districts in north Kashmir.
People walked up to the venue as vehicles were stopped at a distance from the stadium due to security considerations.
It was a long wait for the people to get in as the security personnel made sure to thoroughly frisk them.
At the venue, BJP supporters were seen dancing to the sounds of beating drums and blowing flutes.
In between, army helicopters made sorties and the crowd cheered.
“We are very excited to welcome the home minister to Baramulla. There is a lot of ‘josh’ (enthusiasm) among the people here,” Fayaz Khan, a resident of Kupwara said.
Toufeeq Ahmad, a resident of Karnah, told PTI, “We have so many hopes from the home minister’s visit. This is the government that does what it says.”
He welcomed the announcement on reservation made by Shah in Rajouri and said the people wanted to see it implemented soon.
The home minister had on Tuesday announced that the Gujjar, Bakerwal and Pahari communities in the Union territory will get reservation benefits in accordance with the recommendations of the Justice Sharma Commission.
“Our forefathers struggled for this. The announcement has brought a wave of happiness. But we want the home minister to implement this decision sooner,” Ahmad said.
A large number of women were also present at the rally and sought their grievances to be addressed.
Ruksana Bano, a resident of Baramulla, said, There are many developmental issues which should be addressed on priority. We need proper water supply and electricity. There is price rise and unemployment. Our children need jobs.
Many locals said the rally was arguably among the largest ones held in Baramulla so far.
As Shah arrived, “Har har Modi, Har ghar Modi” slogans reverberated the air. The minister walked up to the podium and bowed in acknowledgement to the cheers.
He started his speech that lasted for less than half-an-hour with Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ and later walked up to the people and shook hands with them.
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