A fresh round of verbal duel has begun between the Congress and the Bahujan Samaj Party as Rahul Gandhi flags off his party’s 10 yatras at Ambedkar Nagar on April 14.
This time the hue and cry is over the ‘missing’ pictures Baba Saheb Bhim Rao Ambedkar in the Congress’ posters announcing the launch of the ‘yatras’ on his birthday.
To blunt the attack, the Congress on Monday released official posters that carry the pictures of dalit icons Baba Saheb Bhim Rao Ambedkar and Babu Jagjivan Ram and Congress leaders.
Congress MP and coordinator for the ‘yatras’ Nirmal Khatri said the BSP allegations were based on posters that were not the official posters of the party.
“About 1000 posters have been pasted in Ambedkar Nagar. These are the official posters of Congress. Some overenthusiastic party worker may have got these posters printed and pasted there,” said Khatri while speaking to Hindustan Times on telephone.
“BSP should introspect and look at its own posters before raising such issues. BSP’s posters often have larger pictures of Chief Minister Mayawati with smaller pictures of Ambedkar and Kanshi Ram,” said Khatri, “Our officials posters have reached Ambedkar Nagar now and are being pasted across the city now,” he said.
“Yatras will focus on the party’s glorious past. We have included pictures of freedom fighters and other party stalwarts. These posters have pictures of Ambedkar and Jagjivan Ram as well,” said Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee (UPCC) spokesman Subodh Srivastava.
The Congress had earlier attacked the BSP for its alleged attempts to cause obstructions in the way of party’s yatras. “We have been denied the ground we wanted. It has been allotted to BSP. We are still levelling the ground. We have used JCB machines and tractors to make the ground usable for the yatras,” said the District Congress Committee (DCC) Ambedkar Nagar President Ram Kumar Pal.
The Congress also faces a tough challenge of mobilising large crowds for the 10-yatras as the BSP too proposes to hold demonstrations against UPA government on the same day.
A showdown between the Congress and the BSP is likely as the venues of both the programmes are located in close vicinity of the other. Sine the two parties would be wooing the same people, observers are keeping their fingers crossed.
The Congress leaders feel that the district administration may cause obstructions. “We are reaching out to people in every village to request them to join the flag off programme,” said UPCC president Rita Bahuguna Joshi.
“Chief Minister Mayawati is likely to air dash to districts to monitor crowds at her party’s demonstrations. This will put the district administration under pressure and the district officials may try to cause obstructions in our programme,” feared Joshi.