UPCC workers asked to bring crowds to Delhi rally on Nov 4

In the first exercise for the reconstituted Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee (UPCC), senior party leaders, district presidents, and leaders of frontal organisations have been directed by the state unit to swell the crowds for the upcoming rally in New Delhi to be held at Ramlila grounds on November 4.

Former MLC Rajesh Pati Tripathi is overlooking preparations in districts of western UP while Harish Bajpai, also a former MLC, is monitoring central, eastern and Bundelkhand regions, apart from flagship programmes and frontal organisations, from Lucknow.

UPCC president Nirmal Khatri was expected to begin rounds of western districts this Sunday but has been held up in his parliamentary constituency Faizabad owing to communal violence. In his stead, CLP leaders Pradeep Mathur and Naseeb Pathan are organising preparations at ground level in these districts. On Wednesday, Khatri will review the preparations from the state capital, before meeting leaders from western UP in Delhi on Thursday.

"Although the focus is on western zones of Uttar Pradesh as they are nearer to New Delhi, Congressmen from all districts would be participating in the rally," Nirmal Khatri said.

"It is a national-level rally and since UP is an adjoining state to Delhi, we are expected to contribute large numbers and therefore the districts have been directed accordingly," he said. Zones one and two, under MP Rasheed Masood and former MP Bijendra Singh respectively, and having western districts of Agra, Aligarh, Meerut, Saharanpur and Moradabad, among others, are vital.

Although the rally, to be addressed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi, was announced to clarify issues surrounding FDI and blunt the BJP's opposition to it, it is as much being seen as a show of strength by the Congress post Trinamool Congress's withdrawal from the government. In a pre-emptive move, BJP Delhi president Vijender Gupta has announced the day to be observed as a 'Black Day' in Delhi to protest against FDI.

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