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Rahul Gandhi to launch MP poll campaign from Mandsaur, administration imposes 19 conditions

The subdivisional magistrate has granted permission for a rally in Madhya Pradesh’s Mandsaur but prohibited Rahul Gandhi from making any “provocative” speech.

india Updated: May 22, 2018 22:28 IST
Hindustan Times, Bhopal
Madhya Pradesh,Madhya Pradesh elections,Mandsaur
Congress president Rahul Gandhi meets party workers at the AICC headquarters, in New Delhi. Gandhi will launch his party’s campaign for the Madhya Pradesh assembly election from Mandsaur on June 6.(PTI Photo)

Congress president Rahul Gandhi will launch his party’s campaign for the Madhya Pradesh assembly election from Mandsaur on June 6, which is also the first anniversary of the death of five farmers in police firing in the same town, according to a party spokesperson.

The district administration had imposed 19 conditions for allowing the event. Last year, Gandhi was detained in Neemuch in Madhya Pradesh en route Mandsaur to meet the families of the farmers killed in the firing. This year, the subdivisional magistrate (SDM) has granted permission for a rally but prohibited Gandhi from making any “provocative” speech .

Among the conditions imposed by the magistrate in the letter, a copy of which has been seen by Hindustan Times, is that the maximum size of the tent constructed for the rally can’t be more than 15ft by 15 ft and that the loudspeakers used can’t be louder than 10 decibels. It also said that the organisers will be held responsible if the vehicles of anyone participating in the rally are stolen.

“The permission will be revoked in case of violation of any of these conditions,” the letter said.

The district collector Mandsaur said, in response to queries from Hindustan Times that the order was a mistake and an amended permission letter would be issued on Tuesday night. “There was no intention of imposing unusual condition on the meeting,” he added, responding to specific questions on the noise limit and the dimensions of the tent.

State Congress spokesperson Manak Agarwal refused to comment on the conditions and said, “Rahul Gandhi’s visit to Mandsaur is confirmed. All the arrangements are being made for his visit.”

Congress’ media co-ordinator in the state Narendra Saluja described the conditions as a deliberate attempt to ensure that Rahul Gandhi’s rally doesn’t take place, as the state government is “frightened to see farmers’ massive support to the party.”

The Congress has been out of power in the state, which goes to the polls towards the end of the year, since 2003. This time, the Congress is trying to make the agrarian crisis and the plight of farmers a poll issue, one reason why it is keen on launching the campaign from Mandsaur.

State BJP spokesperson Vijesh Lunawat said: “It is clear that Congress is playing politics on such a sensitive issue like farmer deaths. The fact remains that the BJP government in Madhya Pradesh has taken a number of measures for welfare of farmers which Congress never did in its more than 50 years of rule in the country.”

First Published: May 22, 2018 22:28 IST