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Rahul Gandhi to Kick Off Congress Poll Campaign in MP Tomorrow

The Congress chief will embark on a 15-kilometre-long roadshow from Lalghati Chowk after seeking the blessings of more than 11 Hindu priests after he lands. He will then interact with party cadre at Dussehra Maidan.

PTI

Updated:September 16, 2018, 8:57 PM IST
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Rahul Gandhi to Kick Off Congress Poll Campaign in MP Tomorrow
Congress President Rahul Gandhi. (File photo: PTI)
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Bhopal: Congress president Rahul Gandhi will launch his party's campaign in poll-bound Madhya Pradesh, known to be a BJP bastion, from Bhopal on Monday, where posters have come up describing him as a devotee of Lord Shiva. He will take part in a roadshow and also address party workers during his day-long visit to the state capital.

Gandhi will arrive here by an aircraft around noon on Monday. He will then embark on a 15-kilometre-long roadshow from Lalghati Chowk, located close to the airport, after seeking the blessings of more than 11 Hindu priests, state party spokesperson Pankaj Chaturvedi said on Sunday.

Gandhi's roadshow, in which he will ride an open vehicle, will conclude at Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd’s Dussehra Maidan, where he will interact with party cadres, he added.

"A T-shaped ramp has been constructed near the stage from where Gandhi is going to take questions from party workers and interact with them," Chaturvedi said.

Besides, he is going to address a meeting of Congress workers, which is open to public, before leaving in the evening, he added. "We are upbeat as our leader is coming to launch the election campaign," Chaturvedi said.

Ahead of the visit, the main opposition party has put up posters and banners in Bhopal describing the 48-year-old Congress chief, who just returned from a pilgrimage to Kailash Mansarovar, as a 'Shiv bhakt'.

As part of the pilgrimage, devotees undertake an arduous journey to Mount Kailash, which is considered the abode of Lord Shiva in Hindu mythology.

Security has been tightened in the city in view of Gandhi's visit, Bhopal Inspector General (IG) of Police Jaideep Prasad said. "We have got an extra force of 1,500 policemen who have already been deputed," he said.

Asked about the possibility of protests during the Gandhi's visit, Prasad said they have not yet received any inputs in this regard. "All steps are being taken to maintain law and order. I am personally monitoring the security arrangements and the routes Gandhi is going to pass through," he said.

Congress workers are arriving in Bhopal from all over the state to welcome the party chief and take part in the meeting. "We are expecting more than one lakh Congress cadres in the state capital," a police officer said.

Meanwhile a BJP leader said party chief Amit Shah and Prime Minister Narendra Modi will attend a function in Bhopal on September 25. Earlier, a visit by Shah to Ujjain district on September 12 was put off.

"It was a tentative programme of Shahji that has been postponed as he along with Prime Minister Narendra Modi is going to grace a function on September 25 here," state BJP spokesperson Rajnish Agrawal said.

Preparations are underway to make the September 25 event a huge success. So the September 12 event was put off, he added.

Asked whether Shah had deferred his Ujjain visit to avoid the ire of upper caste organisations, Agrawal replied in the negative. On September 6, some upper caste groups called for a 'Bharat Bandh' against Parliament approving amendments in the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act after some of its provisions were read down by the Supreme Court.

Four days ahead of the bandh, members of an anti-quota organisation had allegedly hurled a slipper at Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan during a public meeting in Sidhi district and showed him black flags.

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