Kanpur:  Rahul Gandhi's road show in Kanpur on Monday landed in a controversy with the district administration claiming that it had violated the election code by stretching beyond the allocated time and area.

"The district administration had allocated time till noon and fixed a 20-km route for Rahul Gandhi's road show. This was done as on Monday is Shivratri and there could be a traffic problem," District Magistrate Hari Om said.

"But this road show completely violated the election code of conduct as it started at 10.30 AM continued till 3 P.M. It did not stick to the prescribed route and instead covered a stretch of 38 kms. Therefore, the organisers of the road show will be booked for violating the election code," the DM said.

Asked whether the Congress General Secretary will also be booked in the case, the official said they were still discussing the matter. "It is possible that a case may be filed against Rahul Gandhi. We have video graphed the event and are inquiring about it," the DM said.

Rahul's road show was also shown black flags by youths belonging to some Muslim groups in Baghai area of the Cantonment. They were shouting slogans of 'Rahul, Go back'.

However, state Congress chief Rita Bahuguna Joshi, who was part of the road show, denied there was any violation of the model code of conduct and accused the district administration of trying to stop Rahul's mass contact programme at the behest of the Mayawati Government.

"The party has apprised the Election Commission about the action of the district administration," she said.

Kanpur MP and Union Minister Sri Prakash Jaiswal dared the authorities to file an FIR against him. "I had invited Rahul Gandhi for the road show. Let the authorities file an FIR against me," he told reporters.

The DM claimed that the road show organisers had sought permission for a 38-km stretch but they had been informed last night about the conditions. "Still they violated the rules and chose to follow the route for which permission had not been granted," he said, adding, "There could have been a security breach or there could have been a clash".

Joshi, however, countered that the detailed programme of the Congress general secretary, including the route, was handed over to the district administration by the district unit well in advance and was also cleared by the SPG.

"The administration, however, revised the programme on Sunday night and sent it to the SPG," she claimed.

She said that as the people had already been informed about the entire programme, it was not possible to carry out last minute changes.

"During the entire mass contact programme neither Rahul Gandhi addressed a meeting, nor did he take out any procession. Therefore, he has not violated the model code of conduct," the state Congress president claimed.

She alleged that the Mayawati government was "nervous and shaken" after the "success" of Rahul's road show in Lucknow.

Jaiswal said, "Rahul Gandhi has not violated any election code. Was there curfew in the town, that he should not have visited those areas?"

Rahul's road show began at the Circuit House this morning and crossed through all the five assembly segments here with people standing on both sides of the roads to greet the leader.

In Muslim-dominated Chunniganj area, people welcomed him by showering flowers while the Congress leader garlanded an Ambedkar statue in Bajaria area.

Kanpur will go to polls in the fifth phase of February 23.
The state Congress said that Rahul received a tumultuous welcome during his road show, creating "a new atmosphere in favour" of the party.

UP Media Campaign Committee chairman Raj Babbar said the road show witnessed large crowds with the youth, women and children particularly eager to meet the Congress leader.

(Agencies)