New Delhi: Preparations are in full swing at the Ramlila Maidan here for Chief Minister-designate Arvind Kejriwal’s swearing-in ceremony tomorrow with a massive crowd expected to converge on the historic ground.
Multiple agencies, from Delhi Police to Public Works Department are working in tandem to secure the venue ahead of the big day.
The ground, which served as the battleground for the 46-year-old anti-graft crusader during the Anna Hazare-led India Against Corruption movement, is also getting decked up to host Kejriwal for his second oath-taking ceremony.
“A total of 76 CCTV cameras have been installed inside the ground and around its periphery to secure the venue. Two monitoring units have been set up, with one taking care of 51 cameras while the other tracking the rest 25,” a senior PWD engineer said.
Security personnel drawn from ITBP, CRPF, CISF, SSB and Delhi Police have been deployed at the venue.
Metal detectors have also been installed in and around the ground, while “60 baggage scanners” have been put in for the first time to further strengthen the security cover, he said.
“For visitors, nearly 40,000 seats have been put up, and, we are also making arrangements for standing for about 20,000 more people… VIP enclosures would be included in the main seating area,” a senior Delhi government official said.
A jubilant AAP is also waiting for the day with bated breath, and are expecting a huge crowd, with supporters pouring in to the venue.
“Our estimate is about 1.5 lakh people. Last time, it was a little over a lakh, but since the victory is much bigger, more people will pour in this time,” an AAP official, who had come to the venue to assess the preparations, said.
To meet these expectations, authorities have installed “12 LED video walls of 10 ft x 8ft each inside the venue and 9 of them outside”, for the gathering crowd.
“During the last oath-taking ceremony, we had installed 7 LED video walls only, but this time the enthusiasm is much bigger, after the party’s stupendous results. Of the 12 video walls, six have been installed on each side inside the venue,” the PWD engineer told PTI.
The main stage at the ground, from where, Kejriwal has addressed huge crowd several times in the past has been given a fresh paint job for the occasion.
The PWD’s Horticulture Department is also busy decking up the venue with potted plants and flowers.
Thousands of AAP volunteers are also going to be present to witness their leader assume the oath of office.
“For our about 2,000 volunteers, who would attend the ceremony, we have made separate arrangements for entry. They would not have to carry any passes, but instead they will be sporting an identifying ribbon or something on their arms,” the AAP official said.
The North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) is also busy making sanitation arrangements at the venue.
“15 mobile toilets with 14 seats in each unit, separately for men and women, will be stationed tomorrow. Two mobile medical units and two water tankers would also be stationed for the occasion,” a senior NDMC official said.
Over a lakh people had attended the 2013 swearing-in ceremony on December 29.
Ramlila Maidan which practically served as a laboratory for birth of AAP, has an added political significance, as the same ground once echoed the voices of noted freedom fighter and socialist Jayaprakash Narayan during his ‘Total Revolution’ in the 1970s.
Prophetic that it may sound now, Kejriwal-led AAP, which calls itself a party “of the people, by the people and for the people”, is all set to assume the seat of governance tomorrow after earning itself a historic mandate in the polls.
Staging a spectacular comeback to power, AAP emerged victorious in the Assembly polls, clinching 67 seats in the 70-member House.
Kejriwal repeated his triumph in the high-profile New Delhi constituency by handing a crushing defeat to BJP’s Nupur Sharma by a huge margin of 31,583 votes.
The historic venue is once again set to reverberate with the sounds of people hailing Kejriwal and his resurgent party, which in the 2013 polls had staged a stunning debut, getting 28 seats.