After trouble in Bihar, where BJP patriarch LK Advani’s motorized Jan Chetna rath got stuck under a railway bridge, fresh trouble awaited Advani in Uttar Pradesh, (UP), with the state government denying permission for his Wednesday evening rally, at the railway institute ground in Mughalsarai.
The Chandauli district magistrate, VK Tripathi said, the permission has been cancelled because the BJP leaders had not obtained the no objection certificate from the railways to hold the rally. The DM further warned that if BJP leaders insisted on holding rally at the venue, they would be arrested.
The last minute denial of permission for Advani’s rally caught the saffron brigade by surprise, who, soon went on the offensive, deciding that the veteran leader would address people from his rath, at Chakiya crossing, barely 300 meters from the railway ground, where rallies have been regularly held.
Senior leader Kalraj Mishra, UP BJP chief Surya Pratap Shahi, national vice president Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, all of whom were in Varanasi to welcome Advani, slammed the UP government’s decision to withdraw permission for the senior leader’s rally.
"The Congress government at the centre and the BSP government in UP, both of whom are neck deep in corruption, are scared of Advaniji’s rath yatra, against corruption. That’s why the state government withdrew permission at the last moment," Shahi said.
Asked if they had not taken the NOC from railways for the rally, BJP spokesman Vijay Bahadur Pathak said, "We had been making preparations for Advaniji’s rally for the last three days. Why didn’t the government object then? The sudden denial of permission at the last moment clearly indicates that there is more to the cancellation than meets the eye. We have been holding rallies on the same ground in the past too and no objection was ever raised."
The rallies of late Pramod Mahajan and Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan had been held on the same ground, with the railways and the UP government not raising the NOC issue then.
The Chandauli DM however said, "We had given the permission to the BJP earlier but when we were intimated that the NOC was not taken, the permission was withdrawn. There is nothing more to it."