UP govt rebuts Cong charge on auditorium allotment | india | Hindustan Times
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UP govt rebuts Cong charge on auditorium allotment

The state government today strongly rebutted the Congress charge about the cancellation of Tourism Department auditorium booked for the press conference of AICC general secretary Rahul Gandhi on December 8.

india Updated: Dec 07, 2009 23:09 IST
HT Correspondent/Hasan

The state government today strongly rebutted the Congress charge about the cancellation of Tourism Department auditorium booked for the press conference of AICC general secretary Rahul Gandhi on December 8.

Addressing journalists on Monday Additional Cabinet Secretary Vijay Shankar Pandey said no cancellation letter had been issued. He said had the government opposed Rahul Gandhi’s press conference at Tourism Department’s auditorium it would not have allowed its booking.

Pandey said Chief Minister Mayawati has expressed concern over the issue. Mayawati said it was a cheap attempt by the Congress to defame the government. Mayawati said Congress was not going to benefit from such malicious propaganda.

However UPCC spokesman Akhilesh Pratap Singh, who had booked the auditorium on behalf of the State Congress, said that tourism department officer Akshay Nagar rang him up on Monday morning to tell that allotment had been cancelled. He said the department taking plea that auditorium could not be booked for “political purpose” cancelled the permission. But Nagar denied that he had approached Singh with cancellation letter. He said some information was sought from Singh.

Director General Tourism Avinish Awasthi told Hindustan Times that the department did not know that booking had been done for Rahul Gandhi. “As soon as we came to know about it, we allowed”, Awasthi said.

But Akhilesh Pratap said entire department knew about Rahul Gandhi’s programmes, as during the last two days they had been interacting with the security and intelligence agencies to chalk out arrival plan.

Reacting to the development the UPCC president Rita Bahuguna Joshi said the BSP government shaken over the rising popularity of Rahul Gandhi had been trying to scuttle his programme. Joshi said the government’s hasty decision to allow the press conference exposed it of bad intention. She said Rahul Gandhi’s tour in the state would continue despite government’s hurdles.