LK Advani was surprised by the massive reaction to the yatra’s Gujarat leg.
Don’t expect this kind of response in Maharashtra, warned Pramod Mahajan, who had to lead the yatra’s next leg through his own state.
The location of the yatra’s start caused the ruling alliance a great deal of stress. But once more, the BJP made the decision to uphold its ideological stance regardless of how it would affect the coalition government. The duty of organising the Gujarat leg of the yatra fell to Narendra Modi. To reach the socioeconomic groups that were not yet affiliated with the Sangh Parivar, its path was planned to pass through as many tribal and rural communities as possible. The programmes were designed to give the party the most influence possible in swaying public opinion, and they had the full support of the Sangh Parivar’s thousands of dedicated cadre members.
After planning out the complete path of LK Advani’s mechanised “chariot,” Modi returned to Veraval town near the Somnath temple on the day when he was supposed to start the yatra.
Then, those close to Modi disclose that he would be involved in every aspect of every activity throughout the yatra, even devising detours in case there were any problems. One amusing tale illustrates Modi’s attention to detail. Advani and senior party leader Pramod Mahajan arrived at Veraval, a significant town near to the Somnath temple, a day before the Rath Yatra was scheduled to start, and they were quite shocked to see no signs of the impending event — no posters and flags in the streets. Advani asserts for himself.