Facing criticism from the Congress for asking Rahul Gandhi to postpone his visit to Amethi, the Amethi district administration on Monday said it was ready for his three-day tour beginning Wednesday.
Amethi District Magistrate Yogesh Kumar said the authorities “never said no” to the Congress vice president’s scheduled visit to his Lok Sabha constituency on October 4-6, but suggested a postponement taking into account concerns over his security.
“Rahul had proposed to visit Amethi from October 4-6. We never said no (to his visit).
“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 security personnel were busy with the immersion of Durga idols and Muharram,” the district magistrate told journalists.
The administration was ready for his visit on the original dates as the Congress MP wanted to stick to his schedule, he said.
According to UP Pradesh Congress Committee chief Raj Babbar, by asking Rahul to reschedule, the Bharatiya Janata Party government had shown its “cowardice and fear” that the Congress leader might overshadow the proposed visit of BJP chief Amit Shah and union ministers Smriti Irani and Nitin Gadkari to Amethi on October 10.
District Congress chief Yogendra Mishra said, “Rahul is coming to meet the people of his constituency. He cannot be stopped. He will be arriving here as per his schedule on October 4 and the administration will be responsible for his security.”
The district authorities’ permission to Rahul Gandhi comes two days after the district magistrate and Superintendent of Police Poonam, who goes by one name, had asked Rahul to reschedule his visit on law and order grounds.
Image: Congress vice president Rahul is to visit Amethi from October 4 to 6. Photograph: Rupak De Chowdhuri/Reuters