27th October 2013 would have passed off as yet another Sunday had it not been for the gruesome and unfortunate bomb blasts that ripped through Patna’s iconic Gandhi Maidan just as the BJP’s then Prime Ministerial candidate Shri Narendra Modi was to address a rally there.
As the enthusiastic crowd thronged the venue, one by one bombs ripped through the ground.
When Shri Narendra Modi reached Patna he had two choices- either to return to Gujarat and not address the rally (and add to the fear at the large venue) or to come and speak at the rally.
Not only did Shri Modi address the rally but also made a very passionate plea for Hindus and Muslims to come together and fight poverty instead of fighting each other. He also repeatedly told the record audience to disperse peacefully and in an orderly manner without causing inconvenience to anyone.
Later, it transpired that there was a bomb beneath the stage where Shri Modi was speaking.
Weeks after the rally, Shri Modi remarked, “My organizational experience has taught me that even a rumor that an animal is on the loose at the rally venue can cause so much chaos so imagine what would have happened had someone announced there are bombs or if I would not have addressed the rally. I was clear that there was no question of not going on stage.”
A week later, Shri Modi was again in Patna to meet the families who lost their near and dear ones due to the bomb blasts.
Patna’s Hunkar Rally is remembered as a turning point. It illustrated wonderfully what true leadership is particularly in the most adverse circumstances. The message of fighting poverty and not each other also resonated in the hearts and minds of a billion Indians.
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