Shimla:Â Tourists out on holiday to ring in the New Year at the popular hill resort were a harassed lot when much of the public space on The Mall and The Ridge was occupied to hold a political rally on Tuesday.
While the BJP state government marked its first year in office under a new term and speaker after speaker addressed the large gathering, tourists and others jostled for walking space in the narrow paths that the administration had marked as passageways.
An ambulance, which was to rush to IGMC hospital crossing The Ridge, had a difficult time making its way through the passageway after police intervened to push people aside and make path.
“If not for this political rally, it was a lovely day for which we saved the year around to holiday here,” said Diksaha, an architect from Delhi, who with her husband and two children are here for the festive week.
“Is this the way the state intends to promote tourism,” a visibly agitated Prabjot, Diksaha’s husband, questioned.
A tourism official revealed that hotels had been packed to capacity since Christmas and estimated that the daily floating tourist population averaged at 70 thousand people.
You could not have picked a worse location to hold a public rally at this time of the year, said Vinod Sud, an old timer.
Everyone knows that Christmas-New Year is peak tourist season in Shimla and to place a public gathering in its midst does not portray the state or its government well, he added.
80 year old dies in rally
Eighty year old Bhagwan Dass, who had travelled all the way from Naya Nagar Sabathu to attend the ‘Vijay Sankalp Rally’ collapsed and was immediately rushed to Sanatorium Hospital at Chaura Maidan where he breathed his last.
The state government announce Rs 1 lakh as immediate relief to the kin of the deceased and ruling party declared another Rs 1 lakh as financial assistance to the breaved family.