Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi will address two rallies in poll-bound Madhya Pradesh on Thursday during which he is expected to target the Shivraj Singh Chouhan-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Government in the state.
Gandhi is scheduled to address two rallies, the first in Shahdol and then in Gwalior.
The Congress number two, who will be accompanied by former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Digvijay Singh and several other party stalwarts, will also visit Datia to meet those admitted to the hospital after being injured in Sunday’s stampede at Ratangarh Temple.
The stampede at the Ratangarh Temple on the last day of the Navratras has put the Madhya Pradesh Government on the back foot.
The Congress Party has held the state government responsible for the Ratangarh Temple stampede, and questioned as why no preventive measures were taken to avoid such ‘man made’ disasters.
The BJP has defended the state government’s handling of the situation post the tragedy, and charged the Congress Party of playing politics over dead bodies.
The Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister has announced the formation of an inquiry commission, and said that action would be taken within fifteen days of the submission of report into the stampede.
Seventeen policemen, including three senior officers, have been suspended for dereliction of duty that led to the stampede.
The Navratra festivities ended in tragedy earlier on Sunday when several pilgrims, including women and children, were killed and more than 100 injured in a stampede on a bridge leading to the historic Ratangarh temple in Madhya Pradesh’s Datia district.
The injured have been admitted in district hospitals of Datia and Gwalior.
The stampede was triggered by rumours that the river bridge the devotees were crossing was about to collapse.
Survivors alleged that some people spread the rumor that the bridge was on the verge of collapse, resulting in panic.
The disaster was a repeat of the 2006 stampede when more than 50 pilgrims had got washed away falling in panic into the Sindh River off the same bridge in 2006.
Madhya Pradesh votes on November 25. The Model Code of Conduct is in force in Madhya Pradesh after the announcement of assembly polls in the five states of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Delhi and Mizoram.
Will visit the injured
Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi would Thursday visit the injured admitted to a hospital following a stampede at Ratangarh temple in Madhya Pradesh's Datia district, leaving 111 people dead.
Ghannshyam Singh, Congress leader and ex-MLA, Datia told IANS: "Rahul Gandhi would be visiting the injured today (Thursday) afternoon at around 2.40 p.m in the hospital."
He added: "Earlier he (Gandhi) was suppose to meet them in the morning, but it was shifted to noon."
Gandhi would address two public rallies in Madhya Pradesh after visiting the hospital, said party officials.
The Congress vice president will first speak at the Lalpur Ground in Shahdol, and then at the Mela Ground in Gwalior, ahead of the assembly poll in November.
The dead, in Sunday's horrific stampede at a Durga temple at Ratangarh, a forested area of Datia, 390 km north of here, included 47 women and 33 children.
The stampede at the Ratangarh temple on the last day of the Navratras was triggered by a rumour that the bridge to it over the Sindh river had collapsed, and also because of the subsequent use of force by the police personnel to control the crowd.
Women and children were trampled in the stampede, while many people jumped into the fast flowing river below.
Seventeen policemen, including three senior officers, have been suspended for dereliction of duty.