Hours before campaigning closed for the April 24 polls Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi was forced to make an early exit in Alwar following a roadshow, skipping a scheduled press conference after the district administration allegedly refused permission.
Sitting MP and Congress candidate Bhanwar Jitendra Singh alleged the district administration had been acting on instructions from the ruling BJP in the state, affecting his campaign time and again.
Rahul, Singh and Pradesh Congress Committee Chief Sachin Pilot held a roadshow on Tuesday morning from Rao Tukaram Circle to Ashok Circle. A crowd of over 2,000 supporters walked with the campaigners amid drumbeats and fanfare. It was a show of strength for Singh against BJP candidate Mahant Chandnath.
The show was generally received well, but some people pelted stones at Rahul. They hit an escort SPG vehicle but no one was injured.
Rahul, who was supposed to address a press conference in a makeshift enclosure on the roadside at Ashok Circle, left. Even as media waited, a visibly agitated Singh announced that the meet had been called off on instructions of the district administration.
“The district administration called my polling agent and informed him that permission is being denied for the press conference. He was told the phone call be considered an official notification. This comes after a rehearsal by the SPG and the district administration on Monday. Even SPG was threatened by the local administration working for the ruling BJP government’s interest,” Singh said. “The district administration constantly worked against us and created trouble in our campaign and did not let party workers distribute campaign material.”
District officials denied the allegations claiming SPG had found security arrangements inadequate, and advised against the press conference.