Stepping up confrontation with Sonia Gandhi, the Mayawati government on Monday night decided to clamp prohibitory orders in Rae Bareli in an apparent bid to prevent the Congress president from addressing a rally in her Lok Sabha constituency on Tuesday.
The move by the district administration in the Sonia-Mayawati battle for the political turf of Uttar Pradesh came hours after the Allahabad high court virtually stayed the state government's decision cancelling the land allotment for a railway project in Sonia's Lok Sabha constituency in Rae Bareily.
Following the administration decision, Sonia cancelled her plans for the rally at Lalganj, but would go ahead with her tour of the Rae Bareli constituency, according to Uttar Pradesh Congress Committe spokesman Akhilesh Pratap Singh.
Sonia would however proceed to Lalganj and inspect the Lifeline express train, he said.
"We have decided to impose prohibitory order under Section 144 Cr.PC tomorrow," District Magistrate Santosh Srivastav told PTI.
Though the district administration claimed there was no politics in issuing the order, a Congress leader said it was aimed at preventing Sonia's rally in Rae Bareli.
"Prohibitory orders were in place ever since October 5 in view of Id and Dussehra festivals and the same have now been extended in view of ensuing festivals of Deepawali and Bhaiyya Dooj till October 30", ADM (Administration) Rae Bareli B L Verma told PTI.
Dismissing suggestions that the decision to extend the prohibitory order had any connection with the proposed Congress rally on Tuesday, Verma asserted that it was purely an administrative decision to maintain law and order.
Verma said the party had communicated its decision cancelling the rally and provided a revised programme to the district administration.