The city administration has allegedly blocked social activist Anna Hazare’s proposed public rally at the behest of a “scam-tainted” Assam minister.
Hazare and his fellow Lokpal Bill activists are scheduled to address an anti-corruption rally organized by the Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) in Guwahati on May 3. The local authorities apparently had no problem with the centrally-located rally venue – Judges Field – until Wednesday night.
An Election Commission directive has been cited for turning down the rally. The directive says no public rallies or meetings can be held within 1 km radius of a strong room. Judges Field is close to Cotton College where EVMs have been kept for counting on May 13.
Assembly elections in Assam were held on April 4 and 11.
“Health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, the prime suspect in the Rs1000 crore tribal hill council scam, also heads a club that controls Judges Field. It is expected of politicians like him to oppose an anti-graft movement to be launched from the heart of the city. He wants the venue shifted so that people cannot join the movement,” said KMSS leader Kamal Medhi.
KMSS also slammed the city administration for being bulldozed by tainted ministers. “Why did they not object to a community Bihu festival in Judges Field a few days ago and a demonstration in an adjoining field also within 1 km radius of the strong room?” asked Medhi. He added: “That the authorities had given us the go-ahead until Wednesday makes their role dubious.”
Deputy commissioner K Balaji scotched the allegation. “We didn’t oppose the other programmes as we received the EC directive only on Wednesday.”