- More than two lakh people are expected to attend the rally
- A multilevel security arrangement is in place
- The rally comes amid ongoing protests over new citizenship law
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address a mega rally today to launch the BJP's campaign for the assembly elections in Delhi next year. The rally comes amid ongoing protests across the country against the new citizenship law. He will soon begin his address at Ramlila Maidan, about a kilometre away from Daryaganj in the old quarter of Delhi that was hit by violence on Friday during the protests against the amended Citizenship Act.
The rally comes weeks after the National Capital Territory of Delhi (Recognition of Property Rights of Residents in Unauthorised Colonies) Bill - legislation to grant ownership rights to residents of Delhi's unauthorised colonies - cleared parliament on December 4. The BJP will endorse the centre's move at today's event where a total of 11 lakh signatures by residents of these colonies will be handed over to the Prime Minister as a gesture of gratitude.
More than two lakh people are expected to attend the rally. In a statement, senior BJP leader Vijay Goel said on Saturday that preparations for the rally - being organised to thank PM Modi for giving ownership rights to 40 lakh residents of 1,731 unauthorised colonies in the national capital - are in full swing. "This rally will also symbolise that after winning seven Lok Sabha seats in Delhi, the BJP is in full-swing to prepare for the assembly elections in Delhi too," Mr Goel said.
This will be PM Modi's first election rally in Delhi since he won a massive mandate for a second term in national elections earlier this year. The BJP is eyeing a comeback in the national capital after two decades.
Delhi police chief Amulya Patnaik held several meetings on Saturday to review the security situation ahead of the event amid protests across the city over the new citizenship law. A multilevel security arrangement is in place with CCTV surveillance of all the routes leading to the venue. Nearly 5,000 security personnel, including NSG commandos, are on duty and snipers are positioned atop buildings. Restrictions have been imposed at the Delhi-Gurgaon border today between 8 am to 2 pm.
The Citizenship (Amendment) Act for the first time makes religion the test of citizenship in India. The government says it will help minorities from three Muslim-dominated countries - Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan - to get citizenship if they fled to India because of religious persecution. Critics say it is designed to discriminate against Muslims and violates the secular principles of the constitution.
The BJP plans to connect with three crore families over the next 10 days in an outreach effort. This will include several hundred rallies and more than 250 press conferences to clear "misconceptions" about the Citizenship (Amendment) Act or CAA.