As Rahul Gandhi continues his padyatra (foot march) against land acquisition in Uttar Pradesh, officials on Wednesday hinted the Congress leader's march could be halted in wake of prohibitory orders being imposed in Aligarh.
Though officials say the Gandhi scion will surely be allowed to hold the Congress-organised kisan mahapanchayat April 9, they are of the view that he will not be allowed to continue his padyatra in Aligarh villages.
The district authorities have prohibited any gathering of five or more people under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code.
Though it's not certain when Gandhi will reach Aligarh, some Congress activists expect him to arrive in Aligarh by late Wednesday.
"The state government has allowed the Congress to hold only kisan mahapanchayat, permission has not been given for holding any event. Under such circumstances, Rahul Gandhi might not be allowed to carry forward his padyatra and hold informal meetings with the villagers," a district administration official said.
Gandhi, who has been trying to drum up anti-Mayawati sentiments because of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) government's land acquisition policy, launched his padyatra on Tuesday.
"We are waiting for the state government's instructions in this regard. The government has given its go-ahead for the kisan mahapanchayat but not for any other event," the official added.
Even as Congress activists claim that Section 144 was imposed Wednesday ahead of Gandhi's arrival in Aligarh, senior superintendent of police Satyendra Vir Singh claimed orders under Section 144 are in place since June 12.
Asked whether Gandhi would be allowed to continue with his padyatra and informal meetings with the farmers, he said: “First let him come to Aligarh. We have already conveyed to him (Gandhi) that the permission is only for the mahapanchayat and not for any other event."
Congress Aligarh president Girwar Sharma told reporters: "The prohibitory orders have been imposed today just to keep Rahul Gandhi away from farmers of Aligarh."
"The state government is scared of the widespread support being extended to Rahul Gandhi from different walks of life."