BJP upbeat as leaders meet amid Bengaluru summer

Bengaluru : As the BJP began its national executive meeting here on Friday, the mood among its 330 members is upbeat.

A festivel atmosphere has gripped the venue at a star hotel where the two-day meeting is being held — for the first time after the party rode to power with a majority in parliament.

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Though the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) lost power in Karnataka to the Congress in 2013, its state unit is sweating out to provide warm hospitality to its national leaders and members.

With Prime Minister Narendra Modi, party patriarch L.K. Advani, party president Amit Shah and a host of other leaders, including central ministers and chief ministers of a dozen BJP-ruled states participating, the venue has been turned into a saffron fortress in the city centre.

In view of his Z-plus security cover, Modi is staying at Raj Bhavan while all other 300 leaders and members, including Advani, Shah, Arun Jaitley, Sushma Swaraj and Manohar Parrikar, have been accommodated in nearby star hotels for logistics and security reasons.

Continuing with the party’s hoary tradition of providing sumptuous food with regional and local flavour, the member delegates are being treated to a lavish vegetarian menu for breakfast, lunch and supper.

According to party sources, Modi was seen mingling with the leaders and members at the venue before the inaugural session began earlier in the day.

“Modiji also had dinner with national leaders and other members on Thursday night after interacting with the party’s national office-bearers. He had regular food like other delegates and did not ask for any special dish,” a party spokesman told IANS.

Coinciding with the executive meet, the party is holding a public meeting on Friday evening at the sprawling National College grounds in the city’s southern suburb where Modi will speak with other leaders.

“The public meeting is to connect with the people of Karnataka and flag our the government’s achievements since the party came to power 10 months ago and share our vision for the next four years,” the spokesman said.

With Modi and the party’s other national leaders camping in the city till Saturday, the police tightened security and stepped up vigil to prevent any untoward incident.

Though people have been informed in advance about traffic restrictions and diversions on thoroughfares through which Modi’s convey will criss-cross, a slew of holidays since Thursday let city police heave a sigh of relief as the usual grid locks are conspicuously absent.

Efforts of the party’s state unit to saffornise the city centre with huge posters, banners and buntings on both sides of roads and at junctions leading to the venue were thwarted by the civic body after the state ombudsman directed its officials to remove them.