Ramlila Maidan: Ground for tussle between Cong, CPI

Communist party books it first; Congress wants to hold FDI rally there on same day

The Congress might lose to the Communist Party of India (CPI) its preferred venue — the Ramlila Maidan.

Congress wants the venue for a political rally, in which UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh are expected to take on the Opposition parties on FDI in retail.

The Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee on Friday announced that the party would hold a rally at Ramlila Maidan on November 4.

But the CPI said it has already booked the venue and the no-objection certificate was due any time soon.

The party has already put in a request with the North Municipal Corporation to book Ramlila Maidan from October 31 to November 4 for its rally on land reforms, pension demands and other issues such as crop insurance. Farmers and labourers from across country are set to participate in the rally.

CPI national secretary Atul Kumar Anjan, who is also general secretary of the All India Kisan Sabha, said he has a written approval from the corporation after he applied for the NOC last week.

"The CPI applied for the ground. Senior Delhi Police officers confirmed that we will get the NOC from them 10 days before the rally. We also informed the corporation officials about this," Anjan said.

Deputy Commissioner C R Garg said his office has received the CPI's request. "But they have to submit an NOC from police. Without it, we cannot book the ground. The rules state that anyone who brings the police NOC first will get the ground," he said.

Sources said a tricky situation has emerged because it's now a matter of getting the police NOC first, though the BJP-ruled municipal corporation would prefer to give the venue to the CPI rather than the Congress.

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