UP Cong leaders return poll campaign jeeps after AICC arm-twisting

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Lucknow, Oct 15 (UNI) The All India Congress Committee (AICC) has finally managed to get back 50 of the 70 jeeps given to the Uttar Pradesh Congress for assembly election campaign.

Sources in the state Congress said the AICC was able to get back the jeeps -- now required for the Gujarat assembly polls -- after it ''threatened'' the leaders with removal from the Pradesh Congress.

AICC the had been facing a peculiar situation ahead of the Gujarat assembly elections as district presidents in Uttar Pradesh had refused to return Bolero jeeps given to them for campaigning in the assembly elections, concluded about four months back.

Despite several reminders, none of the 70 Bolero jeeps were returned. However, after the AICC warning of stringent action, including removal from Pradesh Congress Committee, most of the district presidents have surrendered the jeeps.

These jeeps are now to be used by the AICC for campaigning in Gujarat assembly elections due this December.

Congress has sent one of its MPs, Hanumant Rao, to Lucknow to expediate the process. ''If the rest of the jeeps are not returned, we may even lodge FIRs against the erring leaders as vehicles are registered in the name of the AICC,'' said a senior UP Congress leader.

The jeeps were bought almost a year ago for campaigning. UP was the first state to get the vehicles for campaigning during assembly elections.

Recently, the jeep given to the Fatehpur district Congress committee was involved in an accident in which a father-son duo riding a bicycle were killed. Since the insurance of the vehicle had expired, the AICC could have to pay a hefty compensation to the next of the kin. ''The insurance had expired after a period of one year...either the district president should have renewed the insurance or could have asked the UPCC to renew it,'' said a senior leader.

Besides the vehicles, the district presidents were given Rs 50,000 for fuel and maintenance.

The number of Congress MLAs had plummeted from 25 to 22 in this assembly election.

UNI

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