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Himachal rally snub to Ramdev

Shimla, Feb. 24 (PTI): Yoga televangelist Ramdev’s plan to hold a rally in Himachal Pradesh’s Solan district received a setback today after the district administration refused to give permission for the February 27 meeting.

“We had changed the venue from Sadhupul to Solan and assured that the rally would be completely peaceful, but surprisingly, the Municipal Corporation, Solan, has declined to give permission for the rally at Thodo ground on February 27 as scheduled,” Laxmi Dutt Sharma, state in-charge of Ramdev’s trust Patanjali Yogpeeth, said.

A private body that had committed to provide a hall also backed out.

Sharma alleged that it was “obviously because of the pressure from the state government that the hall owner backed outů.”

Chief minister Virbhadra Singh said: “Ramdev is welcome to Himachal Pradesh and the government treats him as a respected yoga guru but now the land given to him has been taken over by the government after the cabinet cancelled the lease, Ramdev or his men would not be allowed to create any law and order situation.”

On February 22, the Himachal authorities had taken over the land given to Patanjali Yogpeeth by the previous BJP regime. The move came three days after the state government decided to cancel its lease.

The BJP had yesterday said it would support any agitation by Ramdev against the cancellation of the land lease.