Thousands of motorists had to face major traffic snarls on the Western Express Highway (WEH) on Thursday evening due to a bike rally organised by the BJP to welcome the party president. Traffic movement on the busy highway was affected from 4 pm to 9 pm.
Hundreds of bikes took the roads today evening from Mumbai Airport when BJP President Amit Shah arrived in the city. The politico is being accompanied from the airport to the BKC, a distance of around 9 kms, by BJP workers on motorcycles – many of whom were spotted without helmets.
“On April 5 evening, Shah will meet the core committee of the state BJP that includes Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and other senior leaders,” Mumbai BJP unit president Ashish Shelar had said earlier this week.
Shah is in the city to address a rally in Mumbai on April 6 on the occasion of the party’s 38th Foundation Day, which is seen as a formal launch of its campaign for the 2019 polls.
He may also hold a press conference later tomorrow after addressing the rally and will also interact with BJP legislators and MPs from Maharashtra.
Shah’s arrival in the city, however, severely affected the travel plans of thousands of motorists to travel via the WEH every day. The peak hour arrival also led to queues, stretching all the way from Goregaon to the end of the highway in BKC.
Hundreds of agitated travellers also took to social media to share details about the excruciatingly long traffic snarls and delays.
“Mother of all traffic jams on South bound #WEH from Dindoshi to Jogeswari becoz of a political prog. Daughter’s school bus took 1.5 hrs for 3 km,” said Yogesh Pawar.
“BJP bike rally on WEH has completely jeopardized the traffic right now. Was a permission granted for such rally during known evening peak hours? Took me 1.5 hrs to reach from Bandra to Andheri!!! Disgusting experience,” tweeted another.
— Kabir Puthran (@Kabir_Puthran) April 5, 2018
“Why should any political party be allowed to block traffic? Stuck on the Western Express Highway since an hour !!! What is the #MumbaiPolice doing? #DevendraFadanvis why should your party be allowed to make people suffer in the #MumbaiTraffic,” said another angry motorist.
The traffic situation also prompted airlines to issue an advisory to flyers, asking them to take the traffic into consideration before leaving for the airport.
“Due to heavy traffic congestion on the Western Express Highway, especially between Bandra Kurla Complex and Mumbai Airport, customers travelling from Mumbai are advised to allow more time for their journey to the airport,” tweeted Vistara.
@ANILGALGALIRTI @anjali_damania @CPMumbaiPolice bjp rally more then 3 or 4 thousands bike without helmets on highway our officers are there @MumbaiPolice but no fine to them and they have block the highway traffic jam past 3 hours pic.twitter.com/F1EUTPKJC3
— Khurshid Khan. (@kbk2712) April 5, 2018
An estimated 25,000 BJP workers, including 10,000 bikers, had gathered to welcome Shah in Mumbai.
BJP’s Yuva Morcha secretary Harshal Mantri stated that police were informed about the arrangements and the workers did their best to stick to the last lane of the road. Visuals from the spot, however, show otherwise.
Over 100 or so policemen deployed to control the movement of traffic did their best to manage the overcrowded highway. The traffic situation finally improved around 9 pm, a little after Shah’s convoy reached Sofitel Hotel in BKC.
— ANI (@ANI) April 5, 2018
Note: This report has been updated with additional information since it was first published.View Realtime Updates