Cyclone Fani, the strongest to hit India since 2014, not only wreaked havoc along the eastern coast but also upset schedules of many leaders criss-crossing the country in the throes of Lok Sabha election 2019.
As the ‘extremely severe’ storm made landfall at Puri and brought heavy rain and gusty winds to Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal and Jharkhand, top leaders were forced to cancel or reschedule rallies in these states.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Jharkhand was deferred by a day. He was scheduled to address a rally at Chaibasa college grounds on May 5. Now, the PM’s programme will be held on May 6, when the state goes to polls for the fifth phase in four constituencies: Koderma, Ranchi, Khunti, and Hazaribag.
BJP president Amit Shah’s rallies in the state on Friday were also cancelled. Announcing the cancellation of rallies in Ranchi, Khunti and Kodarma, Shah wished for the welfare of all those in the cyclone-hit areas.
Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath’s rally in Jamshedpur on May 3 was cancelled.
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday cancelled all her political programmes scheduled for the next 48 hours to monitor and coordinate relief work during cyclone Fani as it made landfall in Odisha.
Seven parliamentary constituencies — Bongaon, Barrackpore, Howrah, Uluberia, Hooghly, Serampore and Arambag — in the state are set to go to the polls on Monday. All these constituencies are in the area where Cyclone Fani will have its direct impact as it travels from Odisha to Bengal. The cyclone was supposed to impact places in and around Kolkata from Friday evening, said met officials.