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After threat, rain grounds PM

india Updated: Apr 07, 2009 23:36 IST
HT Correspondents
HT Correspondents
Hindustan Times
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For the second consecutive day, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had to cancel a rally in Assam. Threat from a tribal militant outfit had forced the cancellation of Singh’s rally on Monday. On Tuesday, it was nature’s turn to play spoilsport and prevent him from addressing a public meeting in Dibrugarh.

“The PM’s aircraft landed at Mohanbarie airport (near Dibrugarh) at 11.28 am, but the chopper that was to fly him to the Chowkidingee Playground, the rally venue, could not take off owing to heavy rainfall,” said Dibrugarh deputy commissioner Gyanendra Tripathi.

After 45 minutes of futile wait for the weather to clear, Singh flew back to Delhi.

A spokesman for Ulfa termed it “poetic justice”, since the PM’s rally coincided with the banned outfit’s raising day. Dibrugarh town in eastern Assam is 30 km from Jerai Chokoliboria, the native village of Ulfa commander-in-chief Paresh Barua.

In Delhi, home minister P Chidambaram said March 16 to April 7 — when Ulfa observes its raising day — was a “vulnerable period” for Assam.

Admitting that it had information about Ulfa cadres planning blasts, the ministry praised Assam police for preventing more than a dozen explosions over the past few weeks by arresting 42 Ulfa men and killing 15 of them.

Chidambaram said the government would not yield to Ulfa’s demands despite the banned militant group waging a “virtual war” against India.