After the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) and the Gujarat Vidyapeeth refused to allow their premises to be used for a public meeting to be addressed by Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi on January 30,the Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee has now settled for the Gujarat Arts and Commerce College grounds as venue for his first public programme in Gujarat.
While the AMC reasoned that it had signed a contract with the Indian Cricket League that does not allow it the use of the Sardar Patel Stadium grounds for political or commercial purposes,Vidyapeeth authorities replied in the negative calling it a political exercise.
Senior congress leader and former deputy chief minister Narhari Amin said party leaders had approached the AMC but the latter refused permission. Congress corporator Surendra Bakshi,who is also the leader of opposition in the AMC,said he had taken up the matter with the AMC authorities but they turned it down on the pretext of a contract with ICL banning stadium use for political or commercial events.
As for the Gujarat Vidyapeeth,Vice-Chancellor Sudarshan Iyengar reportedly told senior Congress leaders that he could not allow the use of institution premises for political activities. GPCC president Siddharth Patel and Narhari Amin are reported to have met Iyengar personally in this connection. But Iyengar told them that even Chief Minister Narendra Modi had in the past expressed wish to attend functions in the Vidyapeeth but was not allowed.
Rahul Gandhi will be interacting with party workers and the youth at the Gujarat Arts and Commerce College. The party has begun elaborate preparations for the programme.
On Saturday,party leaders,including those from the youth and students wing,were asked to mobilise party workers and bring people in large numbers to make Rahul Gandhi’s maiden public meeting a grand success.
According to party leaders,Rahul Gandhi will administer an oath to the participants,pledging to fight against terror,the biggest challenge the nation has been facing.
Rahul will also felicitate leaders of different programmes held in the ongoing Abhay Udaan,Mera Bharat Mahaan camp. It began on December 28 and will end on January 26.