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PM, Sonia call off election campaign visit to Tripura after Afzal Guru’s hanging

Agartala, Feb 10 (): Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Saturday called off their trip to the Left-ruled state, following the execution of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had to call off his election campaign tour to Nagaland owing to some heightened security concerns after Afzal Guru’s execution, said a party leader said. Sonia Gandhi who was about to visit Tripura on Saturday to campaign for the February 14 elections, cancelled her tour, in which she was scheduled to address two public meetings, one in Agartala and the other one in northern Tripura on Sunday.

The Congress president has already visited election-bound Nagaland and has attended two public rallies on Thursday. Sonia Gandhi in spite of her ill- health was planning to attend a public meeting at Ambassa in northern Tripura, 110 km north of Agartala, said state Congress chief Sudip Roy Barman.

Mr Barman, who could not be contacted immediately to enquire about the cancellation of the Congress leaders’ trips to the region, said that Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi will be visiting Tripura on Monday and will also be addressing three election rallies, a day before the end of the election campaign.

Sonia Gandhi who was scheduled to address two poll rallies, was about to fly by a chopper and then was scheduled to return to Agartala’s Astabol ground for addressing one more rally, said Nagaland Congress president SI Jamir to reporters.

A team of SPG officers a couple of days ahead of Sonia’s visit arrived at the site with an intention to review security scenario and the grounds where Sonia was to address the rallies.

The Left-ruled state leaders claimed the cancellation of the Congress President’s visit as a blow to the opposition party in the state,which was unable to attend the election campaign scheduled for the Feb 14 assembly polls in Tripura.