After days of maintaining that Congress leader Rahul Gandhi will not be allowed to lead his tractor rally into Haryana, while citing imposition of the National Disaster Management Act, the state government relented Monday.
The Congress was scheduled to hold tractor rallies led by Rahul Gandhi in Kurukshetra and Karnal on Tuesday and Wednesday. But on Monday evening, the tour programme was changed. Instead of two days, it has been restricted to one day only (October 6).
“His rally will begin from Pehowa and end in Pipli, Kurukshetra. He was earlier scheduled to stay in Kurukshetra for the night, but shall not be doing so now,” Congress leader Bhupinder Singh Hooda told The Indian Express.
The Haryana government on Monday decided that Rahul will not be stopped from entering the state on Tuesday. However, to maintain law and order along the border, the police force has been mobilised to monitor the situation. Sources told The Indian Express that there might be some resistance shown by the state government citing Covid-19 restrictions.
“We don’t have any objection to Rahul Gandhi’s tractor rally. However, if any attempts are made to bring in large crowds and disrupt law and order in the state, it shall not be tolerated at any cost. As such Rahul Gandhi has no work. Haryana farmers have understood Congress tactics and will not allow anybody to mislead them. Farmers have understood Congress’ lies,” said Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar in Karnal on Monday.
In Karnal, the CM met a number of farmers and arhtiyas and mandi association representatives and apprised them about the “benefits of the farm laws” for farmers and arhtiyas.
State Home and Health Minister Anil Vij said, “If he [Rahul Gandhi] wants to come alone, he can come any number of times. If you are bringing hooligans from Punjab, if he wants to bring in crowds from Punjab, we will not allow anyone to disrupt Haryana’s law and order.”
He further said: “Rahul Gandhi’s biggest problem is that he does not know his own party’s history. He does not know what relationship his father had with Dhirubhai Ambani. He knows that he is never going to come to power. He can keep saying anything.”
Taking on the neighbouring state of Punjab, Vij said, “Punjab is repeatedly trying and on Congress high command’s instructions, Amarinder is doing it. He first sent tractor rally, we stopped it on the border. Then, he sent a motorcycle rally, we stopped it on GT Road. Now, they are camping at Shambhu barrier. Why there? Is Shambhu going to be Punjab’s capital? There are several other cities, Ludhiana, Amritsar, Jalandhar, Bathinda, Fazilka – they are not squatting there. But they are only coming to our borders so that they can provoke our farmers in Haryana. We have stopped them twice earlier and again if Rahul Gandhi wants to come alone, he can come. There are clear guidelines from the union government that assembly of more than 100 persons shall not be allowed due to the pandemic. The rules are same for the common man and Rahul Gandhi too. If he wants to come adhering to the guidelines issued by Government of India, he can come. If he brings along more than 100 persons, if he tries to run riot in Haryana in the same manner he had been doing in Punjab with the help of Punjab government, we shall not allow it.”
Senior Haryana Congress leaders including HPCC president Kumari Selja, Leader of Opposition and former chief minister Bhupinder Hooda had been having meetings with Congress workers, former MPs, current and former MLAs, finalizing arrangements of Rahul’s arrival and the programme.
Party sources said that accompanied by Haryanvi folk singers, party workers will be reaching Devigarh border Tuesday morning to receive Rahul Gandhi.
INLD’s turncoat, Haryana Vidhan Sabha’s former Speaker and a former MLA from Thanesar (Kurukshetra) who had joined Congress last year, Ashok Arora, had been designated for making arrangements of Rahul’s entry into Haryana Tuesday.
Selja, Hooda, Kuldeep Bishnoi, Randeep Surjewala, Ashok Arora and various current and former MLAs of Congress shall receive Rahul on the Punjab-Haryana border. Haryana Congress leader and former MP Deepender Hooda, who is already accompanying Rahul in Punjab, will be coming with him. After Rahul’s arrival in Haryana, all state Congress leaders and their supporters shall accompany him on his tour of anaj mandis and address to farmers.