Rahul Gandhi’s UP visit marred by protests, route changed


Congress president Rahul Gandhi today wrapped up his two-day visit to Uttar Pradesh, the first as party chief, amid strong protests from BJP supporters in his Lok Sabha constituency.

On the second day of his tour, the Congress MP was forced to change his route as party workers heckled and clashed with BJP supporters in the Gauriganj area, prompting the police to intervene.

Clashes between BJP supporters and Congress workers marred the last leg of his visit.

After the commotion in Gauriganj, the police changed the route of the cavalcade of Gandhi, whose security is handled by the SPG.

Gandhi was slated to have reached Gauriganj from Musafirkhana, but the course was changed as local BJP leaders Ashish Shukla and Sudhanshu Shukla, along with a large number of party workers, assembled on the Gauriganj-Musafirkhana Road in protest against the visit of the 47-year-old Congress MP.

“We did not allow Rahul Gandhi to pass through the troubled Gauriganj-Musafirkhana route in view of the palpable tension there,” Additional SP BC Dubey said.

Gandhi took the Jamo Road, where Congress workers stood on its two sides to greet him, and then walked a distance of about two kilometres to reach Gauriganj.

The protesters at Gauriganj-Musafirkhana Road were seen holding placards which described Gandhi as their “missing MP” and accused him of grabbing farmers’ land for a trust, ignoring the development of Amethi and not utilising MPLAD funds.

Some of the placards charged him with ignoring health and education needs and other problems of the local people and laying foundation stones of “fake” projects.

BJP supporters staged protests against Gandhi yesterday, too, as the Congress leader began his visit to Rae Bareli and Amethi.

As the Congress chief’s convoy was leaving Salon, which falls in the Amethi Lok Sabha constituency but is in Rae Bareli district, for his next stop, Parshderpur, some BJP workers raised slogans against him.

Clashes followed between the BJP protesters and Congress workers and the police had to separate them.

Gandhi had faced angry protesters at the Rajiv Gandhi Chowk in Amethi, because of which he could not garland a statue of his father, former prime minister and Amethi MP Rajiv Gandhi.

Supporters of the BJP and the Congress fought a pitched battle, forcing the local police and PAC constables to intervene.

Meanwhile, a day after the BJP sought an apology from the Congress president for anti-Modi posters here, the police today registered a case against three people, including a local Congress leader.

The posters were seen near the Gauriganj railway station, and a case has been registered in this connection at the Gauriganj police station, Dubey said.

“Police have registered a case against Abhay Shukla alias Jeeju, Nagar Congress adhyaksh (city party chief) Narendra Singh and Ram Kumar under various sections of the IPC. Police are investigating the case and action will be taken against the guilty,” he said.

The BJP had yesterday demanded an apology from the Congress president for the posters that appeared in his Lok Sabha constituency which, it said, “denigrated” Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Senior BJP leader and UP cabinet minister Shrikant Sharma had asked Gandhi to apologise to the nation for the “insulting” posters and said the Congress MP suffered from an “attention seeking disorder”.

He had also claimed that Gandhi’s first visit to UP as party chief had proved to be a “flop show”.

Meanwhile, in neighbouring Rae Bareli, the high profile Lok Sabha constituency of Gandhi’s mother and former party resident Sonia Gandhi, the police have lodged two cases against Congress MLC Deepak Singh and others for allegedly misbehaving with security personnel on duty yesterday during Rahul Gandhi’s visit.

“Two cases were registered against Deepak Singh and others at Salon police station here late last night. One case was registered in the complaint filed by a citizen, while the other was lodged by the police,” Additional SP Rae Bareli Shashi Shekhar Singh said today.

“In his complaint, Ramsajeewan Nirmal said that on Monday when the people of Salon were trying to meet their MP Rahul Gandhi to narrate their problems, Congress MLC Deepak Singh, party leader Jamal Anwar and 15-20 others had attacked them,” he said.

Ramsajeewan Nirmal said he was injured and those who tried to come to his aid were also beaten up, Singh added.

The second case was registered by Salon police station in-charge Gaudeen Shukla against the Congress MLC, Anwar and 40-50 others, the additional SP added.moneycontrol