Former railway minister Lalu Prasad’s Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and its leaders have hired 13 special trains to ferry party workers and supporters to Patna for the Parivartan Rally on May 15. The party leaders will pay around Rs 1.5 crore to Railways for the purpose.
Of these 13 special trains, 10 will originate from different places in Madhubani, Darbhanga, Sitamarhi, Madhepura, Araria, Kishanganj, Purnia, East Champaran and West Champaran districts in north Bihar, two trains from Pirpainti and Bhagalpur in western Bihar and one from Karmanasa (Kaimur district) in eastern Bihar.
For comparison, when Lalu was railway minister in 2007, the RJD leaders had booked 35 trains for the party’s Chetawani Rally in Patna. Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar’s JD(U) had hired seven trains for its Adhikar rally here on November 4, 2012.
East Central Railway (ECR) has decided to make elaborate arrangements on different platforms of Patna junction on May 14 and 15 during the arrival time of these special trains. “Twelve special trains will reach Patna between 11.30pm on May 14 and 7am on May 15. Only one special train originating from Biraul (Darbhanga) at 5am on May 15 will reach Patna junction around 1.15pm the same day,” a railway official at Patna junction said on Monday.
A large number of railway employees, personnel of Government Rail Police (GRP) and Railway Protection Force (RPF) would be deputed at Patna junction to ensure safe exit of passengers coming through the special trains. Frequent announcements would be made about the special trains. Similar arrangement would be made at the time of departure of these trains, he said.
“Majority of these special trains have been booked in individual capacity by the party leaders of various regions, while a few have been booked by the party,” RJD’s spokesperson Randhir Yadav told on Monday.
He said the party workers and supporters have also booked over 5,000 buses and four- wheelers to reach Patna from different districts at the call of RJD supremo.
Prasad, for the last two months, had been touring different districts to exhort supporters and party cadres to reach Patna on May 15 to participate in the rally. “Come with edible items like packets of sattu, litti-chokha, chura and gur. I shall make arrangement of drinking water free of cost in Patna,” Lalu had been telling his supporters while addressing his recent Parivartan Yatras in different districts.