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Rahul Gandhi taken Ill, Skips INDIA Rally, Inclement Weather Keeps Amit Shah away from Darjeeling Rally

Rahul Gandhi taken Ill, Skips INDIA Rally, Inclement Weather Keeps Amit Shah away from Darjeeling Rally

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Manas Dasgupta

NEW DELHI, Apr 21: The Congress leader Rahul Gandhi was on Sunday forced to skip the opposition INDIA mega rally at Ranchi and his all other scheduled programmes for the day as he took “ill suddenly” and was unable to leave Delhi.

All eyes were on the mega opposition rally “Nyay Ulgulan” at the Jharkhand state capital where the wives of the two arrested chief ministers, Kalpana Soren, wife of the former Jharkhand chief minister Hemant Soren, and Sunita Kejriwal, wife of the Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, were among the prime speakers with Rahul Gandhi, the Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav, the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad Yadav, the Punjab chief minister Bhagwant Mann were also to address the rally. The Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge took Mr Gandhi’s place representing the Congress in the rally.

“Rahul Gandhi was all set to campaign today in Satna and Ranchi where the INDIA rally is being held. He took ill suddenly and is unable to leave New Delhi for the present,” the Congress general secretary in-charge communications Jairam Ramesh said.

The Ranchi rally was a significant show of opposition unity after the successful rally at Delhi Ramlila Maidan three weeks ago as leaders from a total of 14 political parties came together to support the INDIA bloc and drew substantial crowd.

Similarly, the Union Home Minister Amit Shah also could not attend a scheduled election rally in Darjeeling town of West Bengal on Sunday as his helicopter failed to land due to inclement weather, a party leader said. Mr Shah was scheduled to address the rally in support of BJP candidate for Darjeeling Lok Sabha seat, Raju Bista. “Amit Shah ji’s visit to Darjeeling had to be cancelled as his helicopter failed to land in Darjeeling because of bad weather,” he said.

Taking a dig at the Congress during an election rally in Rajasthan’s Jalore, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on Sunday said the party that had once won 400 seats is unable to contest 300 seats in this Lok Sabha election. “The Congress has hollowed out the country by spreading termites of nepotism and corruption. And today the country is angry with the Congress and is punishing it for these sins,” he added.

Mr Kharge addressing a rally in Satna in Madhya Pradesh claimed that if “Modi-Shah sarkar” comes back to power, the democracy would end in the country. Targeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah Mr Kharge further claimed that they would also scrap the Constitution made by Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar.

“If you want to keep alive the Constitution, the right to vote for women, labourers and farmers, then vote for the Congress and its ‘panja’ (hand) symbol,” Mr Kharge told the gathering.

Mr Rahul Gandhi, though was unable to address the election rally, did post scathing remarks against the Modi government on X accusing the Centre of aiming to portray the railways as “incompetent” to justify its privatisation to “friends.” He urged people to oust the Modi government to safeguard public transportation for the common person.

“’Rail journey’ has become a punishment under Narendra Modi’s rule! Passengers of every category are being harassed by the Modi government which is promoting only ‘elite trains’ by reducing general coaches from common persons’ trains.” said Gandhi, posting a video on social media, showing passengers cramped in train toilets and on the floor.

His post didn’t mention the train name or journey date.

He claimed the government’s actions might pave the way for railway privatisation. “The Modi government wants to prove railways ‘incompetent’ by weakening it with its policies so that it has an excuse to sell it to its friends,” Gandhi alleged. If the common person’s transport is to be saved, then the Modi government will have to be removed, the former Congress chief said.

Several videos depicting overcrowded trains have gone viral on social media platforms, with passengers expressing their frustration over unpleasant journeys.

Responding to a couple of the videos, the railway ministry said the videos were old or misleading. In one instance, the ministry tweeted a video of the train without overcrowding, urging users not to “malign the image of Indian Railways by sharing misleading videos.”

In another response, the ministry clarified that the videos shared were outdated and encouraged users to observe the current condition. “It is hereby informed that videos shared in this post are old. Watch the present condition of the train mentioned. IR is running a record number of additional trains in this season to facilitate passengers.”

However, the users claimed the authenticity of the posts and criticised the railways for “merely whitewashing the situation without addressing the underlying issues”.

Meanwhile, the Election Commission of India has declared void the polling conducted at 11 booths across five Assembly segments in Inner Manipur on April 19, with Presiding Officers reporting mob violence, gunfire and destruction of some Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) and announced re-poll at these booths on Monday.




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