BANGALORE, November 18: It was business as usual on Sunday at Munireddy Palya, also known as J.C. Nagar, a residential locality adjacent to Palace Grounds, where Bharatiya Janata Party’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi addressed a mammoth rally.
The streets were abuzz with regular vehicular traffic while the tea shops continued to attract their patrons and grocery shops and fruit sellers their customers. The only difference appeared to be the presence of a large number of khaki-clad police personnel, most of who were posted outside the mosques and temples in the area.
A residential locality with a mix of Hindus and Muslims, Munireddy Palya is considered a communally sensitive area and has been under the police scanner following the reported busting of a terror module last year. Also, the area was among the various localities in Bangalore where the police last week carried out a door-to-door verification of tenants, who had moved in recently, as part of an exercise aimed at heightening the security for the BJP leader.
Mushtaq, a resident of the area, said he was aware of Narendra Modi’s rally being held at Palace Grounds, which is a stone’s throw distance from the tea shop he works in. “It does not interest me.” Displaying a similar indifference was T.M. Dass, who runs a watch-repair shop on the Munireddy Palya main road. “Why should we brave the rain or shine to listen to him? Besides, he is not from Karnataka and does not speak Kannada.” Mr. Dass said he would return home and catch up on his speech on television.
Rafeeq, a native of Gulbarga, who resides in the locality, said he went to listen to the speech. “There was a large crowd and security was very tight. But, I could neither see him nor properly hear him speak,” said Rafeeq, who works in a private company on Nandidurga Road.
Shivanna, a construction labourer from Bagalkot, along with Kariappa and Ramanna, told this reporter that they came out of Palace Grounds for a quick swig of liquor as there was no point in sitting through the rally because they could not understand Mr. Modi’s speech in Hindi.
When they were informed that the police authorities had ordered closure of liquor shops, Shivanna and his friends turned around and began retracing their steps back to Palace Grounds.