With an eye on UP polls next year and to show the alleged nexus between SP and BJP, Congress plans to project Ajay Rai, the party MLA from Pindra constituency in Varanasi, as a “hero” as he travels from Fatehgarh Central Jail in Farrukhabad to Varanasi, following his release on Monday.
Each district and city unit of Congress along the 500-odd km stretch has been asked to give him a grand welcome.
Rai, who had contested against Narendra Modi from the Varanasi Lok Sabha seat, was arrested in October last in connection with a case of violence and arson during a protest rally by sadhus demanding permission for immersion of Ganesha idols in the Ganga. He was later booked under National Security Act. Allahabad HC set aside the NSA in March, and granted him bail in April.
Leaving jail, and en route to Varanasi, Rai was welcomed by Congress workers at 12 places in Farrukhabad, Kannauj, Kanpur Dehat and Kanpur City districts. He is scheduled to stay Monday night in Kanpur and leave for Varanasi Tuesday, crossing Fatehpur, Kaushambi and Allahabad districts on the way.
The party also plans a function in Varanasi a week later to felicitate Rai. State Congress president Nirmal Khatri alleged that the UP government had acted “on directions of the Modi government to frame Rai” even though BJP MLAs were also present in the melee.