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After Sonia, Maya takes on Rahul, cancels his meeting with students
Shahira Naim writes from Kanpur

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati’s hostility with the Congress resurfaced today when Amethi MP Rahul Gandhi’s scheduled interaction with students of Chandra Shekhar Azad Agricultural University here was cancelled reportedly at her government’s behest at the eleventh hour.

Describing the state government’s decision as “vindictive”, Gandhi said: “I cannot understand why the state government is vindictive towards us.” The AICC general secretary, who had been invited by the students, kept his date and met them in the cafeteria.

Hours after the Congress leader was denied permission to interact with the students, Governor T.V. Rajeswar who is also the chancellor of state universities cancelled his scheduled visit to attend the university’s 10th convocation without citing any reasons.

In a press note later, the university said as the convocation was scheduled to be held on the campus, the authorities had not given permission to Gandhi to hold any programme there. “The decision in this regard had been communicated to the party,” it claimed.

Meanwhile, the state government described as baseless the Congress charge of cancelling Gandhi’s programme. “Rahul was not denied permission anywhere in Kanpur. If the university authorities did not permit his interaction with students, it is their decision and the local administration has nothing to do with it,” said an official statement issued here. It called the charge as “an attempt to malign its image”.

UPCC president Rita Bahuguna Joshi also charged the state government with failure to provide adequate security to Gandhi during his visit. She said the party MP who has SPG security remained without the state security cover for more than an hour. “SPG men had a tough time ensuring Rahul’s security as university students surrounded him,” she alleged.



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