PM calls off northeast visit

July 17th, 2011 - 7:31 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh Agartala, July 17 (IANS) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has cancelled his scheduled visit beginning July 22 to two northeastern states - Assam and Tripura - citing a hectic schedule in the national capital, an official said here Sunday.

The postponement of the prime minister’s visit to Left-ruled Tripura evoked political controversy, though the Congress officially termed it as “apolitical”.

Tripura Congress spokesman Tapas Dey told reporters: “There are no political reasons behind the cancellation of the prime minister’s trip to Tripura.”

“Manmohan Singh Saturday talk to Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar by phone from New Delhi and expressed his inability to come to the state in view of the busy schedule in New Delhi,” an official statement clarified.

Media reports Sunday said that in view of the prevailing tense situation in Tripura arising out of the recent clashes between Congress workers and police, the “worried prime minister cancelled his tour to Tripura”.

A 21-year-old youth was killed and 111 people, including 28 policemen and 11 journalists, injured in Agartala on July 10 and 11 in a series of clashes between the police and Congress workers, who allege that the state adopted prejudiced policies towards the state’s medical students.

A three-member All India Congress Committee (AICC) team led by union Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Mukul Wasnik visited the state Wednesday to assess the situation. They also met the governor and apprised him of the situation.

“We would submit a detail report of the Tripura situation to Congress president Sonia Gandhi to take appropriate measures,” Wasnik had told reporters here.

AICC in a statement and senior Congress leaders led by Tripura unit chief Surajit Datta met the governor and demanded dismissal of the Left Front government and promulgation of president’s rule in Tripura.

The Tripura government has ordered a magisterial inquiry into these clashes.

The prime minister was scheduled to lay a foundation stone for a campus of Kolkata-based Indian Statistical Institute at the Texpur University in Assam on July 23 and attend a function in Guwahati the same day.

In Tripura, the prime minister was to inaugurate the newly-built Tripura assembly and lay the foundation stone for a new Raj Bhavan complex here July 22.

If the prime minister visits Tripura, this would be his first visit to a Left-ruled state after the April-May poll debacle of the Left parties.

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