AMETHI/NEW DELHI : Facing criticism from the Congress party for asking Rahul Gandhi to postpone his visit to Amethi, the district administration on Monday said it was ready for the party vice-president’s three-day tour beginning on Wednesday.
Amethi district magistrate Yogesh Kumar said the authorities “never said no” to Rahul Gandhi’s visit to his Lok Sabha constituency, but suggested a postponement due to security concerns. “Rahul had proposed to visit Amethi from October 4-6. We never said no (to his visit),” the district magistrate told the media. Kumar said the request was made in the wake of Muharram and Dusshera celebrations in the district.
“We had just sent a confidential letter to the district Congress chief suggesting that the visit be postponed by 24-48 hours in view of the fact that the security personnel would be busy with the Durga idol immersion and Muharram processions,” said the district magistrate.
The permission for Rahul’s tour comes two days after the district magistrate and superintendent of police Poonam had asked him to reschedule his visit on grounds of law and order.
The administration was ready for his visit on the original dates as the Congress MP wanted to stick to his schedule, Kumar said. “The immersion of idols will be taking place in Musafirkhana tehsil and Tiloi tehsil, and the Amethi MP plans to visit both the areas. We are making efforts to ensure that proper arrangements are made. Earlier too, we never said ‘no’. We just sought time to make arrangements,” he said.
Kumar added that his request was not considered but the authorities would ensure all-round security for the Congress leader.
The issue has assumed political overtones as BJP chief Amit Shah, along with a battery of cabinet ministers and senior party leaders, is scheduled to visit Amethi on October 10.
Congress sources said Shah’s visit has been planned as a counter to Rahul’s September 25-27 campaign in poll-bound Gujarat which apparently rattled the saffron party. “Amit Shah can go to any part of the country at any time of the year without the district magistrate’s permission, but Rahul Gandhi can’t go. They have accepted their mistake after we raised the issue,” Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi claimed.