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Advani's UP rally postponed

Agra, Sep 14, 2013, (IANS) : 12:13 IST
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A BJP rally scheduled to be addressed Sunday by senior leader L.K. Advani in Uttar Pradesh's Akola town has been postponed to Sep 29, citing security reasons.

Agra Divisional Commissioner Pradip Bhatnagar and senior district officials late Friday held a meeting with Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders, including local MP Ram Shankar Katheria.

The officials agreed to allow the rally Sep 29 in Akola, 18 km from Agra, "if the situation in the state remains normal".

The postponement took place Friday, a day when BJP anointed Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi as its prime ministerial candidate despite opposition from Advani.
MP Varun Gandhi was also scheduled to address the Akola rally.

BJP Agra district president Ashok Rana said they will decide after consultation with state president Lakshmi Kant Vajpayee and others.

"In a way, it's a relief for Advaniji who would have been asked to state his position vis-a-vis Modi, a subject he would perhaps like to avoid for a few days," party sources said.

Agra District Magistrate Zuhair Bin Saghir and senior police officials have been trying to convince BJP leaders that the time was not right to hold a rally in the present circumstances when passions were running high in the aftermath of communal clashes in Muzaffarnagar and nearby areas that left 47 dead.

On Friday, police and paramilitary forces marched through Akola town. A team of police was sent to uproot tents at the rally venue.

"Right now, the whole area is tense and people are fuming with anger," BJP leaders said in Agra.

Some BJP leaders said they were ready to court arrest Sunday to defy restrictions and Section 144 that prohibits unlawful assembly.

BJP workers felt cheated and angry at the postponement of the rally.

"The Modi-anointment celebrations were dampened by the district administration's ban on the Akola rally, but party workers will soon gear up and work for the success of the rally on a new date," said BJP activist Pramendra Jain.

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