The Congress is engaged not just in a political and electoral battle with the Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh; it is also fighting the state administration.
On Wednesday, it accused the Uttar Pradesh administration of setting up hurdles to prevent party president Sonia Gandhi and Amethi MP Rahul Gandhi from holding public rallies in the state even though the party had secured prior permission and deposited the requisite sum for booking the venue.
Because of the intransigence of the local administration, Sonia had to cancel her public meeting at Meerut on April 10 and Rahul had to give up his mass contact programme at Aligarh the previous day.
According to Union Minister and Congress leader Kapil Sibal, the local administration of Meerut disallowed Sonia’s rally at the Gymkhana Club ground on security reasons even though it had allowed BJP leader A B Vajpayee---a SPG protectee--- to hold a public meeting at the same venue.
The two alternative venues it offered were impractical: the Vaishali grounds fell in the cantonment area where public meetings are not allowed and the Nauchandi grounds was being set up for the Nauchandi mela.
In Rahul’s case, the Aligarh administration refused to give permission for the jan sampark programme at 7 pm. After much persuasion when it relented, it was too late for the party to re-organise the entire schedule, said Sibal.
Meanwhile, Priyanka Vadra will go to Amethi on Friday to oversee the election campaign in gher brother Rahul's parliamentary constituency.