Trouble in Gauriganj as rivals clash.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi on January 16 wrapped up his two-day visit to Uttar Pradesh, his 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 supporters clashed with BJP supporters in the Gauriganj area, prompting the police to intervene.
After the commotion in Gauriganj, the police changed the route of the cavalcade of Mr. Gandhi, who is under SPG protection.
Mr. 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. “We did not allow Rahul Gandhi to pass through the troubled Gauriganj-Musafirkhana route in view of the palpable tension there,” Additional SP B.C. Dubey said.
Mr. Gandhi travelled till Jamo Road in his vehicle and then walked about 2 km to reach Gauriganj.
Protesters at Gauriganj-Musafirkhana Road were seen holding placards which described Mr. Gandhi as their “missing MP” and accused him of grabbing farmers’ land for a trust, ignoring 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 Mr. Gandhi yesterday too, as the Congress leader began his visit to Rae Bareli and Amethi. As the Congress chief’s convoy was leaving Salon — in Rae Bareli district and under Mr. Gandhi’s Amethi Lok Sabha constituency — for his next stop, Parshderpur, some BJP supporters raised slogans against him.
Clashes followed between the protesters and Congress supporters and the police had to separate them.
Mr. 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 Rajiv Gandhi.
Supporters of the BJP and the Congress fought a pitched battle, forcing the local police and Provincial Armed Constabulary constables to intervene.
Meanwhile, a day after the BJP sought an apology from the Congress president for anti-Modi posters here, the police on January 16 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, Mr. Dubey, the ASP 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 is investigating the case and action will be taken against the guilty,” he said.
The BJP on January 15 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 U.P. Cabinet Minister Shrikant Sharma had asked Mr. 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 Mr. Gandhi’s first visit to U.P. as party chief had proved to be a “flop show”.
Meanwhile, in neighbouring Rae Bareli, the high profile Lok Sabha constituency of Mr. Gandhi’s mother and former party president 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 Mr. Gandhi’s visit.
“Two cases were registered against Deepak Singh and others at Salon police station in Amethi late on January 15. One case was registered on the complaint filed by a citizen, while the other was lodged by the police,” Rae Bareli ASP Shashi Shekhar Singh said on January 16. “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.
Mr. Nirmal, according to Mr. Singh, had claimed that he was injured and those who tried to come to his aid were also beaten up.
A 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.