After Cong flak, admin says yes to Rahul’s Amethi tour

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Amethi (UP), Oct 2 (PTI): Facing criticism from the Congress for asking Rahul Gandhi to postpone his visit to Amethi, the district administration today said it was ready for the party vice-president’s three-day tour beginning Wednesday.

Amethi district magistrate Yogesh Kumar said the authorities “never said no” to Gandhi’s visit to his Lok Sabha constituency, but suggested a postponement taking into account his security concerns.

“Rahul had proposed to visit Amethi from October 4-6. We never said no (to his visit),” the district magistrate told journalists.  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,” the district magistrate told journalists.

The permission for Rahul’s tour comes two days after the district magistrate and Superintendent of Police Poonam, who goes by one name, had asked him to reschedule his visit on the 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.

Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee chief Raj Babbar termed the attempt to postpone Rahul’s visit by the district administration an act of “cowardice and fear”.

He said the BJP government in the state was apprehensive that the Congress MP might overshadow the proposed visit of BJP chief Amit Shah and Union ministers Smriti Irani and Nitin Gadkari to Amethi on October 10.

Echoing similar sentiments, district Congress chief Yogendra Mishra said Rahul was coming to meet the people of his constituency and he cannot be stopped.

“He (Rahul) will be arriving here as per his schedule on October 4 and the administration will be responsible for his security,” Mishra said.

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