Some 250 workers of the BJP-led MCD are engaged in getting the Ramlila Maidan ready by Friday.Sensing an opportunity BJP's Delhi unit is leaving no stone unturned to roll out the red carpet for Anna Hazare and his aides at Ramlila Maidan. The historic grounds come under the jurisdiction of the BJP-controlled Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), giving the principal opposition an opportunity to be on the side of the popular anti-graft sentiment which has turned against the government.
Taking advantage of a cowed down Congress government, the MCD has turned all its forces towards preparing the grounds that are in a bad condition after incessant rains for the last two days. Six earth movers, 15 trucks which have made as many as 100 rounds to off-load the muck and 250 people who will continue to labour through the night have been pressed into service.
It was only in the early hours of Thursday that MCD was informed that Ramlila Maidan would be the venue for the anti-corruption crusade and BJP leaders in the MCD immediately started rolling out men and machinery towards Hazare's latest protest venue: the swift response starkly contrasting with the lethargic way in which the civic body ordinarily functions.
Leader of the House in MCD Subhash Arya told TOI that he reached the venue at 9 am and supervised work at the grounds till evening, leaving only for a few hours in the afternoon. Other important BJP leaders including state chief Vijender Gupta, Yogender Chandolia and Ramesh Bidhuri were also closely involved with the preparations.
Congress must be keeping a close watch on BJP's enthusiasm. The party has spoken of an "invisible hand" remote-controlling the Hazare campaign, as well as its infiltration by RSS. The Hazare campaign has taken pains to stress that it is not predisposed towards the opposition, and has tried not to let the government's opponents use their platform.
BJP and RSS, which have pledged their support to the anti-corruption movement, were conspicuous by their presence at Baba Ramdev's protest: something that was subsequently cited by the government to justify the midnight police action on the yoga guru's supporters.
The core group of Hazare's campaign has also decided to provide one lakh water pouches with "ISI mark" gratis to the protestors along with provisions for an ambulance and medical supplies.
When asked if the BJP supported Hazare's campaign, Arya said, "The issue was first flagged off by our leader L K Advani and we are willing to support anyone working on the anti-corruption campaign."
He also did not lose the opportunity to rub in the fact that the Congress-led central government had to buckle to the activist. "Congress has bowed down to Hazare. It is a moral defeat for them," he said.