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Rai Bareli turns into fortress ahead of Sonia's visit

October 14, 2008 14:31 IST

Rai Bareli has virtually been turned into a fortress with deployment of heavy police force in view of Congress president Sonia Gandhi's [Images] visit to her parliamentary constituency today against the backdrop of a land row between the Centre and the Mayawati [Images] government.

Sonia cancelled her plan to address a rally in Lalganj town after the district administration decided to clamp prohibitory orders in the district today following the Centre-State dispute over setting up of a rail coach factory.

The Congress president will visit Lalganj to inspect theLifeline express train and have an audience with people of her constituency.

The police have registered cases, including under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, against two Congress MLAs -- Ashok Singh and Shiv Ganesh Lodhi -- and 34 others. Of them, eight people have been arrested.

The Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court yesterday directed the state and the Centre to maintain the status quo on the land allotted to the Railways for setting up of a rail coach factory in Rae Bareli. The Mayawati government had on Sunday cancelled the allotment of 189.25 hectares of land given to the railways. 

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