NEW DELHI: After declining permission to launch the Congress party’s ‘Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra’ from Imphal’s Palace Grounds, the Manipur government later approved the venue “with limited number of participants.” The Rahul Gandhi-led ‘East to West’ yatra will begin from Manipur on January 14.
Earlier in the day, the Congress leadership said that the Manipur government has declined to give its nod to launch the yatra from Palace Grounds, citing security reasons. Addressing media in Delhi, AICC general secretary KC Venugopal said that though Chief Minister Biren Singh had declined permission to start the yatra from the Palace Grounds, the party will start from Manipur at any cost.
“We are not going to politicise the Manipur issue. How can we avoid Manipur when we are having an East to West yatra? They are reluctant to give us Palace Grounds. We are not going to fight for Palace Grounds. We will look for another location. Come what may, we will hold the yatra from Manipur,” he said.
Later in the day, an order issued by the Imphal East district magistrate’s office said, “Only flagging off of the yatra with a limited number of participants is hereby allowed on January 14 to prevent any untoward incident and disturbance in law and order. The number and name of the participants shall be provided in advance to enable this office to take up all necessary precautionary steps.”
The approval comes eight days after the party sought permission to begin the yatra from Hapta Kangjeibung Ground. The order said that the Imphal East district superintendent of police has submitted a report stating that a huge crowd is expected at the venue during the opening of the yatra, and in view of the prevailing law and order situation in the state, this may mean added trouble. “Moreover prohibiton under Section 144 CrPC is also in force in Imphal East,” it said.
Also, the state function for the commemoration of Armed Forces Veterans’ Day is scheduled to be held on that day. Meanwhile, the Congress is yet to take a final call on the flagging off of its yatra in the wake of the Manipur government’s decision to allow the rally with a limited number of participants.