Row erupts over cancellation of Sonia's Mahakumbh visit

Controversy erupted over the sudden cancellation of Congress president Sonia Gandhi's proposed visit to the Mahakumbh at Allahabad.

While the UP Congress leaders alleged that the visit has been cancelled following refusal of the state government to provide security, the police flatly rejected the charge.

“We have come to know that the state government has expressed its inability to make necessary security arrangements for the visit...it is most unfortunate and we condemn it,” state Congress spokesman Kishore Varshney said.

Varshney said that the centre had provided huge funds for the Mahakumbh.

“The Mahakumbh is being organised with the funds given by the UPA government and the state government says it cannot provide security to the UPA chairperson. It is really ridiculous,” he added.

Rahul’s visit

The Congress leader did not say if party vice-president Rahul Gandhi's proposed visit to the Mahakumbh had also been cancelled.

“We have no information about Rahul's visit. It seems that the state government may refuse to provide security to him as well,” Varshney said.

Local Congress workers held demonstrations in Allahabad on Saturday to protest against the state government's reported denial.

There were reports that Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi had also cancelled his visit after the state government refused to provide adequate security for the same.

The UP government denied that it had expressed its inability to make security arrangements for visits by Sonia Gandhi and Narendra Modi. “So far we have no official information about Narendra Modi or Sonia Gandhi’s visit,” said the UP police chief AC Sharma.

He said that there was no question of denying security when there was no formal programme.

“We had only requested that VVIPs should refrain from visiting Kumbh on important bathing days,” he said.

Sharma added that the UP police were ready to provide security to any politician who “wants to visit the Mahakumbh.”

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