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Thursday, Aug 22, 2019

Traffic rules go for a toss in Cong bike rally in Dehradun

Cong workers give helmets a miss, indulge in triple riding in open violation of law

dehradun Updated: Jan 29, 2018 22:18 IST
Neha Pant
Neha Pant
Hindustan Times, Dehradun
Participants flout traffic norms during the Congress' bike rally in Dehradun on Monday.
Participants flout traffic norms during the Congress' bike rally in Dehradun on Monday.(HT Photo)

Traffic rules went for a toss in the state capital during a bike rally taken out by the Congress workers on Monday. The rally, which was aimed at protesting against the BJP governments at the Center and in the state for their alleged “anti-people policies”, saw a number of two-wheeler riders not wearing helmets.

Besides giving the head safety gear a miss, many participants also indulged in triple-riding, which is prohibited by the law.

The ‘jan chetna’ or public awareness rally was held by the Uttarakhand Congress to protest against inflation, unemployment, demonetization, goods and services tax, foreign direct investment and to demand farm loan waiver for agriculturists in the hill state. The rally comes ahead of the civic polls due in Uttarakhand in April this year, in which the Congress is looking to make a comeback after its dismal performance in the 2017 assembly polls.

The rally began from Dehradun’s Old Rajpur suburb and passed through the heart of the city via Rajpur Road, Darshan Lal Chowk, Saharanpur Chowk, Niranjanpur trijunction before culminating on GMS Road. The party workers were seen waving party flags, flashing placards and shouting slogans even as they openly flouted traffic norms in the presence of the police.

The Congress party, however, sought to downplay the violation of traffic rules in its rally. “Whenever something big happens, some mistakes do occur. We’d directed our workers to abide by all rules and most of them followed them in the rally. We will keep this (violation) in mind in future and ask workers to strictly adhere to the rules,” Mathura Dutt Joshi, chief spokesperson of the state Congress, said.

Notably, the BJP workers, too, had openly flouted traffic rules during party chief Amit Shah’s visit to Dehradun in September last year. Ironically, the Congress had lashed out at the BJP at that time for “failing to ensure zero-tolerance” against its errant party workers.

Dehradun superintendent of police (traffic) Lokeshwar Singh, meanwhile, asserted that the priority of the police was to ensure that the rally “passed off smoothly, without affecting traffic flow” of the state capital during the peak traffic hours. “There were around 1200 to 1500 people on the roads. It is practically not possible to stop the bikes and start challaning everyone...our priority was to run the traffic smoothly,” Singh said, adding that the permission letter given to the rally organizers by the district administration clearly indicated that all rules had to be followed by participants.

Rally leaves Doon roads choked

The Congress bike rally left city roads choked at many points and caused traffic snarls at many places. The Dehradun police had also carried out traffic diversion for the rally. “Such rallies, protests and marches should not be allowed inside the main city,” Keshav Taneja, a resident of Rajpur Road, said.

Ticket hopefuls marshal crowd

Several ticket hopefuls, who are planning to contest the upcoming civic polls, were seen jostling with each other to ‘flaunt’ the crowd roped in by them. The rally turned into a show of strength for those seeking tickets for various posts of urban local bodies.

‘Govt has failed on its promises’

Speaking during the rally, state Congress president Pritam Singh said that the BJP governments at the Center and the state had “failed to fulfil the promises made to the people” before the elections. “The public of Uttarakhand has given us (Congress) the mandate of being in the Opposition, and we’ll continue to carry out our duty by highlighting the BJP governments failures,” Singh said. Many senior party leaders, including former Chief Minister Harish Rawat, gave the rally a miss.

‘Congress conspiracy to mislead public’

Dubbing it a “flop show”, the ruling BJP trained guns at the Congress for holding the bike rally. “The rally was a part of the Congress’ conspiracy to mislead the public by levelling baseless allegations against our (BJP) governments, but they will not succeed in their efforts,” Devendra Bhasin, state BJP’s media in charge, said.

First Published: Jan 29, 2018 22:18 IST

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