There is a sea of pink headed towards Ibrahimpatnam mandal in Telangana's Ranga Reddy district with the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi or TRS planning to host a one-of-its-kind "mother-of-all-meetings" tomorrow. TRS leaders say they are expecting nearly 25 lakh people to attend the meeting, which they claim will be a record for the country. Sources say chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, popularly known as KCR, may announce the dissolution of the Telangana assembly tomorrow, so that elections can take place early along with polls to four other states later this year, say sources.
Even though the political meeting is happening about 25 km outside Hyderabad, the entire city is dressed in party pink, with banners, hoardings, posters on every pillar, flags and even massive cutouts, to announce the mega-event through which KCR hopes to showcase the achievements of his government in the last four years.
About 2,000 acres have been identified, including 500 acres of the meeting venue, for the mammoth gathering, for which TRS leaders are mobilizing cadre and others from every district in the state.
Two days before the meeting itself, about 2,000 tractors carrying some 20,000 farmers were making their way from Khammam towards the meeting venue - about 300 km away - all draped in pink. TRS leaders say one lakh people were expected at the venue today, a day before the meeting itself.
"They are carrying their own supplies, cooking for themselves. We are making arrangements to facilitate and stay at different places," a TRS leader said.
Since the chief minister is keen on having farmers as an important constituent at the meeting, around one lakh farmers are expected to turn up, riding on 10,000 tractors. Space has been earmarked for parking the farm vehicles without obstructing traffic.
About 7,300 out of about 10,500 buses or nearly 70 per cent of the bus fleet in the state has been hired by the ruling party that claims they are making payments to the RTC, electricity and water departments for making arrangements and facilitating this meeting.
"We are requesting people not to travel on that day if they don't need to. We chose a Sunday and a venue away from the city, to avoid inconvenience to the people but we can expect there will be chaos on the roads," KT Rama Rao, Telangana's municipal administration and IT minister told NDTV.
16 new roads have been laid and trees translocated, which were paid for by the Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Authority, Mr Rao claimed. 500 washrooms and ambulances have been set up and thousands of policemen have also deployed for the meeting. All senior officers have been given specific responsibilities, vis-a-vis security, logistics, arrangements, traffic regulation and so on.
In response to a plea filed in the Hyderabad High Court which raised objections to the meeting, the court has said that the TRS can go ahead with the meeting, but they must not inconvenience commuters, emergency vehicles must be allowed to pass and they must clean up after the show gets over.
So what will be cost of this mega show? TRS leaders say it is not for the media to ask as the party is not misusing government funds or infrastructure. "We have 46 lakh people registered as TRS party cadre. Even if half of them, some 23 lakh turn up, we have our numbers. And all of them have the commitment to spend and come to hear their leader after four years. We don't have to pay them," KT Rama Rao said.
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