BHOPAL: Rahul Gandhi’s attempt to reprise his Bhatta Parsaul feat in Madhya Pradesh came to nothing today.
Knowing that policemen were massed at Nayagaon on the Madhya Pradesh-Rajasthan border to stop him from going to Mandsaur, the Congress vice-president got on a motorcycle and embarked on a long detour to the town where five farmers were killed in police firing on Tuesday.
But he was stopped anyway. He and his pilot rider, Congress MLA Jeetu Patwari, were detained by the MP police and taken to Neemuch in a police vehicle.
Talking to journalists after being stopped, Rahul Gandhi said, "The Narendra Modi government and the Shivraj Singh Chouhan government are both anti-farmer. They waive the loans of their industrialist friends, but won’t waive the loans of farmers."
Unconfirmed reports said it wasn’t the police who put a stop to Rahul’s impromptu cross-country ride, but angry bees along the way. A beehive had been disturbed and the swarm could have been dangerous.
Other Mandsaur-bound Congress leaders Digvijaya Singh, Kamal Nath, Ajay Singh, Arun Yadav and Mohan Prakash and Sharad Yadav of the Janata Dal (U) were also stopped from entering MP at Nayagaon.
Gandhi and Jeetu Patwari set off from Nimbahera in Chtttorgarh district in Rajasthan, hoping to reach Mandsaur by a wild country route through Pratapgarh district in Rajasthan.
In Mandsaur, Gandhi planned to meet the family of one of the five farmers, Chainram Patidar, who were shot dead by police in the Bahi Chaupati area on Tuesday.
Rahul Gandhi and Sharad Yadav flew from Delhi to Udaipur and wanted to reach Mandsaur by road. But coming to know of the heavy police deployment on the Rajasthan-MP border, the Congress vice-president left his security guards and party retinue behind at Nimbahera and got on a motorbike to go to Mandsaur by a kutcha road.
At Nayagon Congress workers and local residents tried to force their way through the police barricades but were driven away.
Meanwhile, 62 people have been arrested in violence hit Mandsaur district and curfew is in force in two towns, Pipliyamandi and Mandsaur. It is likely to be relaxed this evening, the outgoing superintendent of police of Mandsaur O P Tripathi said.