New Delhi: As the sky grew overcast and strong gusts of wind started ripping off the Modi posters and buntings, BJP leaders and organisers had their fingers crossed that the impending rain should not wash away the first ever public rally by the party's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi. And the weather gods smiled!
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had made preparations on a grand scale for the rally in north Delhi's Japanese Park - that included a sophisticated sound system and 20 giant screens around the venue to show the event live to the lakhs gathered.
The rally began around 10 a.m. As Delhi BJP leaders started addressing the rally ranging from anywhere between two to five lakh people, the sky started getting darker by the minute.
Moments later, a strong gust of wind accompanied by light rain ripped apart a 100-feet high poster of Modi, and sent banners and buntings rolling around the podium. But as Modi took centre stage, the rain and dark clouds disappeared. The strong wind gave way to a gentle breeze.
Several parts of the city were lashed by rain Sunday. Even Modi mentioned and thanked the god for the pleasant weather.
Bollywood style welcome for Modi
As Narendra Modi arrived on the stage, music composer A.R. Rahman's 'Vande Mataram' was played in the background followed by the blowing of conch shells as the enthusiastic crowds cheered, clapped and whistled.
Prior to his arrival, popular Bollywood songs like 'Mehengai dayan khaye jaat hain' (Inflation is killing us) from the movie 'Peepli Live' and 'Aarambh hai prachand' (Begun with a bang) from "Gulaal" were being played since early morning at the venue.
Painting the town saffron
Saffron banners and hoardings of all shapes and sizes with the images of Narendra Modi and BJP's local leaders as well as thousands of party flags made of plastic, paper and cloth were put up across Delhi Sunday for the mega rally.
Metro pillars, bus stands, sidewalls of flyovers, trees and even traffic signal poles - every advertising spot had the posters of the Modi rally, especially on the roads leading to Japanese Park in north Delhi where the rally was held.
Modi a successful crowd manager too
People were waiting since morning to hear Narendra Modi, and when the BJP's prime ministerial candidate got up to deliver his speech at around 12.40 p.m., the impatient crowd could not hold back their emotions and stood up, chanting "Modi, Modi, Modi".
Some even climbed atop poles that were holding the marquee together as well as poles to which the huge speakers were tied and waved party flags and continued the chant.
Modi politely asked them to be seated so that people at the back could see and hear him. The crowd obliged.
Sometime later when Modi attacked Pakistan over the killing of Indian soldiers, the crowd started its chant again, louder than before.
This time, Modi in a firm voice asked his supporters to stop and let him carry on with his speech.
"The media has registered your support, now let me continue as this is an important matter," said Modi as he continued with his attack on Pakistan.
When gluttony took over some media persons
The over 100 media persons, including many from the electronic media, were treated to a feast by the rally organisers.
At a separate media enclosure adjacent to the dais, chilled lemonade followed by breakfast consisting of sandwiches, dhokla, wafers, sweets and a mango drink were served.
An hour later, boxes of chhole bhature (chickpeas and fried bread) were distributed as snacks. At noon, thalis with dal makhni, shahi paneer, mixed vegetable, parantha, pulao and gulab jamun were served to media personnel.
Most were satiated by the breakfast and snacks and had no appetite for the lunch. But the sumptuous lunch served by the popular Bikanervala restaurant chain was too much to resist for some journalists.
From selling tea to serving the nation
Narendra Modi, for the first time in public, spoke about his journey from a tea seller in trains to becoming the country's prime ministerial candidate.
Modi said: "Every village, every district in the country should find its dream."
"I lived off selling tea on the railway. You made this poor man (himself) sit here," said Modi.
Modi said he will never be a ruler but remain a servant of the people.
"I was never a ruler, nor would I ever be. I am a servant, and will always be at your service," he said.