PM, Sonia call off northeast visit

Agartala, Feb 9: In a blow to the campaign of opposition Congress for the Feb 14 assembly polls in Tripura, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress supremo Sonia Gandhi Saturday cancelled their trips to the Left-ruled state, a party leader said.

The prime minister postponed his election campaign tour to Nagaland too due to some work related to Afzal Guru’s execution, a party leader here said.

“We have received a message from the union home ministry that Congress president Sonia Gandhi cancelled her visit to Tripura to campaign for the Feb 14 elections. She was scheduled to address two public meetings here and Kumarghat in northern Tripura Sunday,” a government official told IANS.

Gandhi visited election-bound Nagaland and addressed two public gatherings Thursday.

“The prime minister has cancelled his trip due to urgent administrative work in Delhi in connection with Afzal Guru’s execution,” state Congress chief Sudip Roy Barman told reporters.

Barman, who was not available immediately to get his reaction about the cancellation of Gandhi’s visit, earlier said that despite her ill-health the Congress president would visit Tripura to campaign for the party.

The prime minister was to address a public meeting at Ambassa in northern Tripura, 110 km north of Agartala.

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi is likely to visit Tripura Monday, a day before the end of the election campaign, and address three election rallies.

Nagaland Congress president S.I. Jamir told reporters in Kohima that the prime minister’s visit to the state for the Feb 23 elections has been deferred.

IANS