Kolkata: The venue for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s February 2 rally was changed after the elite force guarding him objected to the size of the previous choice and a railway track running through it.
The Special Protection Group which guards the PM reportedly feared the repeat of the tragedy in Amritsar where a train had mowed down 59 Dussehra revellers who were sitting on tracks due to the paucity of space.
Modi was scheduled to address a public meet at the mela ground in Thakurnagar, which has a large Matua population. The rally was to be organised by a pro-BJP faction of the Matuas, led by All India Matua Mahasangha’s Shantanu Thakur.
“We wanted to have the PM’s event at the ‘Thakurbari Mela Ground’ as Matuas are emotionally attached to this ground. But nothing is above PM’s security. The SPG will once again visit the site on January 30 for final inspection,” said Thakur.
“The SPG officers asked us for a substitute ground citing the Amritsar train tragedy. It was a matter of PM’s security. We showed them another ground, the ‘Kamanasagar field’. They immediately agreed as it is big and can host 4 lakh people,” Thakur, the Saha Sanghadipati of AIMM, said.
It was earlier reported that the venue was changed as the ground was already booked by Trinamool Congress MP Mamata Thakur for a religious programme from January 29 to February 5.
When contacted, Mamata Thakur, said, “I don’t know when PM Modi is coming here. All I know is that we are organising a religious event at Thakurbari Mela ground. The entire Matua community is with us. PM Modi is trying to woo the Matua community, but that is not going to help the BJP.”
The Matua community holds the key to victory in Thakurnagar in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.
Located nearly 70 km from Kolkata, Thakurnagar in North 24-Parganas district is the headquarters of the ‘Matua Mahasangha’, founded by the late Harichand Thakur, who led the Hindu Matua movement.
With nearly 65-67 percent Matua voters, Bongaon is one of the Lok Sabha seats that both the BJP and TMC are trying to win by convincing Binapani Devi Thakur, popularly known as ‘Boroma’ (elder mother). She is the widow of Pramath Ranjan Thakur, who was the great-grandson of Harichand Thakur.