Over a 100 legislators and local leaders of the Janata Dal-United (JD-U) from Bihar camped in Delhi and its neighbouring areas for nearly a month to mobilize people for Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's rally to press for a special status to the state.
"Leaders stayed for more than a month. They interacted with the families from Bihar living here and told them the importance of the demand," a JD-U volunteer told IANS.
He said that due to the sustained campaign, the party could bring to the rally about one lakh people from Bihar living in Delhi.
Ajay Mandal, who represents Nath Nagar constituency of Bihar's Bhagalpur district, said he stayed for the past ten days in Shahdara area of east Delhi, met almost 20 families from the state in the area and brought them to the Ramlila ground. "They understood the importance of special status for our state," Mandal said.
Auto-drivers, rickshaw-pullers come in support
Apart from thousands of buses and four-wheelers, auto-rickshaws and cycle-rickshaws were a special attraction of the JD-U rally as over 2,000 auto-drivers and rickshaw-pullers came out in support.
The roads near the Ramlila ground were packed with the three-wheelers carrying small party flags of the JD-U.
Sunil Kumar Shah, 38, native of Bihar's Motihari district, who has been driving an auto-rickshaw in the capital for five years, said: "If I get a job in my state, why would I come to Delhi?"
Shah came from south Delhi's Tughlakabad area to join the rally along with 20 other auto-drivers.
"Special status would bring opportunities for the coming generation and they would not have to go out of the state for work," said Sukesh Yadav, a rickshaw-puller.
Soldier detained for showing black flag
A 32-year-old soldier was detained for showing a black flag to JD-U leaders a few metres away from the podium. As Nitish Kumar reached the podium, the soldier named Rakesh suddenly came out of the crowd and tried to break the security fence. He was waving a black flag in the air. Security men and JD-U workers hurried up to the spot, caught him and took him outside the ground.
Rakesh was frustrated due to an inquiry conducted by the state police in a property case in Vaishali district in Bihar, said a police officer. He was let off after some hours.