Rahul Gandhi to address Congress rallies in MP today

Shahdol/ Gwalior/Datia, Oct 17 (ANI): 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. (ANI)

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