MADURAI: The preparation and serving of food for tens of thousands of people was a spectacle in itself at the BJP’s state conference in Madurai, ‘Thamarai Sangamam’, on Thursday. The pandal set up for the purpose was massive, measuring at least 150 metres in length. Families of BJP supporters lounged around on the carpeted ground, having their meals.
Twelve huge 10-foot-high piles of firewood stood in line behind the various mini kitchens that worked furiously to keep the food coming. Food was prepared in huge utensils and served on disposable plates.
The scale of the operation was apparent with the sheer number of disposable plates that lay strewn about. The morning menu was pongal, kesari and sambar. The afternoon fare was sambar rice, curd rice and yam curry.
The importance of the food pandal was apparent when the leaders on the stage asked the organisers to stop giving out food when they were delivering speeches on stage.
“Food at BJP functions is always the best among all political events. The pongal is excellent, almost tastes home-made,” said Siva, a resident of Sivakasi, who came to the event with his wife and two children.
Others weren’t quite in a situation to share the view. Ranga Rao, a resident of Madhya Pradesh who had come to Madurai to take part in the conference, kept asking those serving the food what he was being served. But that was met with little response given that he asked his questions in thickly-accented Hindi.