A rally organised by the BJP to mark its 38th foundation day, caused a lot of hardship for commuters in the western suburbs of Mumbai on Friday, as traffic there came to a standstill.
The party apologised for the traffic problems on account of the rally, which was addressed by its national president Amit Shah in suburban Bandra.
Many contrasted the situation with the farmers’ march to the city last month, when the agitators had walked at night to avoid causing inconvenience to Mumbaikars during the day.
Motorists had a tough time during the morning rush hour, especially between Andheri and Bandra on the arterial Western Express Highway, as BJP workers heading for the Bandra Kurla Complex contributed to the traffic snarls.
Early in the morning, traffic on the Western Express Highway had begun to slow down, while that on the Eastern Express Highway was comparatively smoother.
The traffic police had issued an advisory, asking commuters to avoid arterial roads.
Author Devdutt Pattanaik took to Twitter, recalling how agitating farmers marched towards south Mumbai in the dead of night last month, so as to avoid causing inconvenience to motorists and students taking board exams the next day.
“Thousands of poor powerless farmers marched into city at night. Mumbai was not inconvenienced. Today rich powerful politicians arrive with a show of force like a herd of wild elephants. Mumbai trembles,” he tweeted.
Traffic control room officials confirmed snarls from T-junction and BKC, Mahim towards the Western Express Highway, but said that traffic flow was smooth after 4 pm.
Mumbai Congress chief Sanjay Nirupam said, “Mumbaikars were inconvenienced by traffic snarls for close to six hours. On the other hand you had 35,000 farmers who came in quietly, travelled through the night so that the people of the city would not be inconvenienced.”
BJP workers’ bike rally to welcome party president Amit Shah in the city on Thursday too had led to massive traffic jams on the roads leading to the airport.
In addition, several trains arrived late here after BJP workers, being ferried in special services for the rally, allegedly forced unscheduled halts at some stations.
Speaking at the rally, Mumbai BJP president Ashish Shelar apologised to Mumbaikars for the “hardships” caused to them due to heavy traffic snarls.
When Shah was asked about the traffic problems due to the rally, he told reporters that Shelar had already expressed regret at the rally. PTI