Prime Minister Narendra Modi cut his speech short at a rally in West Bengal’s North 24 Parganas district and later apologised after several women and children fainted following a stampede-like situation at the venue.
An officer manning the state police control room said two-three women had fainted. “They were rushed to a hospital and released after first-aid,” he said.
Modi, who was addressing a meeting organised by the All India Matua Mahasangh in Thakurnagar, tried to control the crowd and repeatedly asked them to remain wherever they were as many BJP supporters tried to force their way into the inner ring of the venue. Some people, waiting outside the venue, also rushed in, adding to the chaos.
“The ground is too small for this meeting. Please remain where you are… I request you, there is no place in the Maidan. Don’t do this,” the Prime Minister said, as people jumped barricade and jostled with one another to get a vantage point to listen to their leader’s speech.
As the commotion continued, Modi abruptly ended his speech by raising the slogan ‘Bharat Mata ki jai’ and left the ground, saying he has another meeting to attend.
Later, at another rally at Nehru stadium, Durgapur, in West Burdwan district, Modi began his speech by referring to the incident.
“At Thakurnagar, there was a unprecedented crowd, they were high on enthusiasm. I saw mothers, sisters in large numbers. I think there was twice the number of people than the ground can hold. They were inconvenienced.
“I bow my head and salute all those who had come to Thakurnagar and showered their blessings and love on me.
“But at the same time, some sisters and children faced problems. I sympathise with them, and apologise for this,” he added.
Modi advised the crowd at Durgapur to be patient.
“I request you all also, I know your enthusiasm. Your love is my strength. But alongside love, you need to have patience. This ground is so big, but still it now looks small (because of the huge turnout),” he said.