A marquee collapsed at PM Modi’s rally in West Bengal, hurting more than 20 people. The marquee collapsed in the middle of PM Modi’s speech, after which he demonstrated civic reponsiveness by appealing to the people to climb down. He told people “who have climbed up, please get down, all of you….please climb down. Those standing up there, please get down. Don’t run.” PM Modi made full efforts to help the injured people, and asked the special protection group (SPG) to help out. The injured people were taken to a hospital on motorcycles, as well as by the Prime Minister’s ambulance that follows his convoy. It had been raining heavily since morning and it was drizzling at the time the tent collapsed in the afternoon. The shaky structure was weakened further as people tried to climb the poles for a glimpse of the Prime Minister.
A huge number of people were expected to come to the rally, but the venue was not managed to hold these many numbers of people. Officials called the incident a major security lapse and questioned whether the event and its venue were cleared after a government structural engineer’s go-ahead. An official said “Over Rs. 350 crore is spent each year on the PM’s security and if the venue of the most protected person is not structurally secured.” PM Modi later visited the hospital to meet and speak to the injured people. The BJP’s IT cell in-charge Amit Malviya tweeted that an injured woman asked the PM for an autograph and he obliged.
PM Modi has demonstrated excellent presence of mind in an extremely dangerous situation in the rally. During the Patna rally where there was a bomb blast, he asked people to queue up and patiently exit the venue, preventing a stampede. In Gujarat, he spotted a photographer who has been swept away the moment a new dam opened and ensured that he was brought to safety. In many rallies, he asked people to come down from an unstable structure before starting a speech. This shows the PM’s concern for the public and his ability to sense any prospective danger due to mismanagement. The farmer rally in which the tent collapsed was organized in Midnapore district. Speaking to the vast number of people who came listen to him, PM said “my government is your government, it is a government of farmers. Our government worked for farmers… from quality seeds to market, it is important to have a warehouse to save the produce.” Continuing his speech after the tent collapse, PM Modi praised people for their discipline at a time of danger and said “I come from Gujarat and yet I have never seen such discipline and courage. I want to touch the feet of the people of Bengal for their discipline.”
The excellent handling of such situations by PM Modi is in stark contrast with rallies held by leaders from other parties. A few years back, we saw how a person hanged himself in a rally organized by Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). Earlier, stampedes have occurred in many rallies in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar during rallies held by leaders of SP and RJD.