JAMMU, Oct 16: Former Ministers Devender Singh Rana and Surjit Singh Slathia, who quit National Conference and joined BJP in Delhi earlier this week, were accorded unprecedented grand reception by their supporters on arrival at Jammu, here today.
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Thousands of supporters turned up at the Jammu Airport for welcoming their leaders, who were profusely garlanded and taken to Gandhi Nagar in the form of a massive procession.
Gathering of supporters and size of the procession could be gauged from the fact that vehicular traffic on the Satwari road remained paralyzed for over two hour around noon.
The leaders, atop a tastefully decorated van, kept waiving at the crows enroute. They were profusely garlanded and the supporters kept showering flower petals on them.
In his brief address to the supporters during the procession, Devender Singh Rana reiterated that he was in politics only for the cause of Jammu and highlighting the voice of Jammu people, irrespective of religion and caste.
“For the cause of Jammu, we can sacrifice everything as well as our political career but there can be no comprise on the issues of Jammu region, which includes Samba, Kathua, Poonch, Rajouri, Doda, Udhampur, etc,” he said.
Surjit Singh Slathia expressed his gratitude to the people for bestowing them a lot of affection and said that he would leave no stone unturned for the cause of Jammu. He said that the support of people will encourage them to work for them single mindedly with a mission to make Jammu and Kashmir a better place to live in.
Pertinent to mention that Devender Singh Rana, former MLA from Nagrota Assembly constituency and Political Advisor to then Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, along with Surjit Singh Slathia, who remained Cabinet Minister for two terms, had resigned from basic membership of the National Conference on October 10. Both the leaders had joined BJP in Delhi the next day and arrived Jammu today.
Holding garlands and flower petals, thousands of supporters were seen waiting for their leaders outside the Airport and Satwari road. Some of them were dancing on drum beats and raising slogans.
As soon as both Rana and Slathia came out of the Jammu Airport exit gate, their supporters accorded them a grand reception amid slogans and drum beats. Among the supporters, many were prominent National Conference activists and they supported Rana and Slathia’s decision of switching over to BJP.
The massive procession was taken out as the two leaders travelled atop a decorated vehicle to Devender Singh Rana’s Gandhi Nagar residence. It took almost two hours to cover nearly eight km distance from Jammu Airport to Gandhi Nagar due to heavy rush of the supporters, including members of the Gujjar and Bakerwal communities who had come to welcome their leaders. Besides cars and two-wheelers, a few supporters had come on their horses.
The procession culminated at Devender Singh Rana’s residence at Gandhi Nagar where a number of people, including female supporters of both the leaders had assembled for the welcome. To make the event vibrant, the supporters had also organized performance of some folk artists.
Later, Surjit Singh Slathia was taken to his residence at Trikuta Nagar Jammu, in the form of a procession by his supporters, who had come from Samba Assembly constituency.