Bhubaneswar: Heavy rain and thundershowers forced Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi to cut short his trip to Orissa and fly back to New Delhi on Thursday, a day after landing here, an official said.
Gandhi was scheduled to visit Sambalpur and Baripada towns as part of his two-day trip to Orissa`s tribal areas, a police officer told a news agency.
Most parts of the state have been witnessing rain and thundershowers for the past three days due to a depression over west central Bay of Bengal.
He was scheduled to interact with college students at Sambalpur town, some 300 km from here, Wednesday. His itinerary also included a night stay in the town but he couldn`t make it because of the rains.
Instead, Gandhi addressed students in Cuttack and Behrampur towns Wednesday, a senior Congress leader said. Gandhi appealed them to join politics and serve the country, he added.
Gandhi reached Bhubaneswar by road after addressing students at Behrampur and spent the night at a state guest house here.
He couldn`t travel to Baripada, the district headquarters of Mayurbhanj, either. Gandhi was supposed to interact with Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe students in Baripada on Thursday.
"He cancelled his Baripada programme and returned to Delhi," Deputy Commissioner of Police HK Lal told a news agency here.
It was Gandhi`s second trip to the state.
Earlier in August, he had visited the state`s impoverished Kalahandi district and addressed a rally near Niyamgiri hills where people are opposing a mining project by the Vedanta group.
The latest visit was a part of his ongoing efforts to strengthen the student and youth wings of the party, the Congress leader said.