The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) accused the ruling Congress government on Friday of trying to instil fear among the residents of Haridwar to prevent them from attending party chief Amit Shah’s proposed rally on Saturday.
The BJP made the allegation after the local administration clamped the section 144 in Haridwar. The legal provision prohibits an assembly of more than 10 people in an area.
“The Rawat government is behind the prohibitory order,” said state BJP president Ajay Bhatt.
He criticised state Congress president Kishore Upadhaya for his move to hold a ‘peace march’ at Landora in Haridwar on a day Shah is supposed to address the public meeting. Landora falls in the Khanpur assembly constituency represented by rebel Congress MLA Kunwar Pranab Singh, who recently joined the BJP.
Upadhyaya’s move to hold a peace march came days after the communal riots broke out in Landora, in which a restive crowd reportedly attacked Singh’s ‘Rang Mahal’ residence.
Singh is reported to have warned the state Congress president of dire consequences if he went ahead with his decision to lead the ‘peace march.’
“Bullets will fly if the peace march is taken out in Landora,” news reports quoted former Khanpur MLA as saying.
Bhatt said Singh had been asked to observe restraint while issuing statements but defended his (Singh) warning against Upadhaya’s move to lead a ‘peace march’ in Landora.
“Singh’s reaction is not unjustified considering that the Congress was behind the communal flare-up in which the goons attacked Singh’s house and torched quite a few vehicles parked outside it,” Bhatt said.
The state BJP chief dubbed the Congress government’s move to clamp the section 144 in Haridwar as a sign of its nervousness ahead of Shah’s rally.
“It is going to be one of the biggest public meetings ever held in the state. A huge gathering of more than one lakh people is likely to attend the public meeting,” Bhatt said.
The chief minister is nervous because of the unprecedented gathering about which the Local Intelligence Unit (LIU) must have informed him, the BJP leader said.
State Congress president Upadhyay rubbished the BJP’s allegation that the ruling party was behind the communal flare up in Khanpur. “It is a baseless allegation.”
He said he had informed the chief minister as well as home minister Pritam Singh about the “peace march”, and
“BJP chief (Amit Shah) should apologise for the former Khanpur MLA’s ‘bullet’ remark. He must immediately issue an apology because we are living in a democratic country and are not the BJP’s slaves,” he said.
Upadhyaya, however, clarified that a final decision on the proposed ‘peace march’ in Landora is yet to be taken by the Congress’ state executive.