Amit Shah is seen to be kicking off with today's youth rally, his party's campaign for the Haryana assembly elections next year and the national election amid speculation that the BJP-led government could call it sooner than mid-2019, when it is due. Jind is considered the nerve centre of Haryana politics and the BJP is attempting to consolidate its hold in the state, which it won for the first time on its own in assembly elections in 2014.
In preparation for today's rally, not only did Chief Minister Khattar ride a brand new Bullet to the venue to inspect arrangements yesterday, he has also persuaded leaders of Haryana's powerful Jat community to call off an agitation. But opposition parties the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) and the Congress have said they will hold protests.
The INLD has said its workers will wave black flags at the BJP chief and hundreds of security personnel, including those from the Haryana Police and para-military forces, have been stationed in Jind, about 200 km from Chandigarh, to ensure there is no disruption. There is tightened security in adjacent districts and towns too from where the thousands of rallyists will drive in.
Jats had threatened to disrupt the rally to press demands like inclusion among groups that get the benefit of affirmative action, but later called off their planned protest after the Khattar government reportedly agreed to most of their demands. This, jat leaders said, includes reservation in jobs for Jats and withdrawal of cases against protesters who were booked for violence and arson during an agitation in February 2016.
About 100 acres around the venue has been earmarked as parking space for the massive number of bikes that are arriving.
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) is keeping a close watch and the Haryana government has assured the green court that only motorcycles with valid Pollution Under Control (PUC) certificates will be allowed in the rally.