Congress MLA, eight others booked in Rae Bareli

October 14th, 2008 - 4:28 pm ICT by IANS  

Sonia GandhiLucknow, Oct 14 (IANS) A Congress legislator and eight of his supporters have been booked for alleged vandalism against the state government in Uttar Pradesh’s Rae Bareli district, which is party chief Sonia Gandhi’s constituency.”Ashok Singh and others have been booked as they violently demonstrated Monday against the state government’s decision to withdraw the land it sanctioned for an ambitious rail coach factory project of the Congress-led central government,” Deputy Superintendent of Police Abhai Kumar told IANS over telephone.

Singh and his supporters Monday threw stones at government buses and also vandalised the office of the ruling Bahujan Samaj Party in the Lalganj locality in Rae Bareli, about 80 km from Lucknow, police said.

Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee (UPCC) spokesperson Akhilesh Pratap Singh told IANS that “our party president Sonia Gandhi has cancelled her plans to address a rally at Lalganj in view of Chief Minister Mayawati’s directions to disallow it”.

Even as the state government has imposed prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code in Rae Bareli, Sonia Gandhi will hold a road show in the district later in the evening, officials said.

The Mayawati government in Uttar Pradesh had Saturday night taken back the 400 acres it had allotted to the Indian Railways for the project.

The Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court Monday ordered status quo on the land while hearing a writ petition of the Northern Railway (NR) and a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) from the villagers of Rae Bareli. The court has given a week’s time to the state government to file a counter affidavit.

The Northern Railway moved the high court seeking a stay on the Uttar Pradesh government’s decision to withdraw the land. Villagers and farmers of Lalganj also filed a PIL stating that the move of the state government would deprive the region of better development and job opportunities. The matter has been listed for further hearing Oct 22.

The state government, through its counsel, told the court that it will not take back possession of the land from the railway.

The railway, a few months ago, had acquired the land after paying a compensation of Rs.85 million (Rs.8.5 crore), which the state government Sunday announced it would return.

“The government also stated that it will not initiate proceedings of allotting the land to anyone else or initiate any construction work on the same,” said Mohammad Arif Khan, counsel of the petitioners.

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