Congress Party workers and leaders on Thursday staged protests in Karnataka, Kerala, Punjab, Telangana, Tamil Nadu and Rajasthan against Rahul Gandhi’s interrogation by the Enforcement Directorate in the National Herald money laundering case. Congress workers and leaders have been protesting
ever since ED officials began interrogating Rahul on Monday. The Congress leader and Wayanad MP has been grilled for over 30 hours in the past three consecutive days. He has been asked to join interrogation on Friday again.
The call for two-day nation-wide protests was given by the party a day before on Wednesday after Delhi Police had barged into All India Congress Committee (AICC) headquarters at Akbar Road and manhandled some of the senior leaders including a woman parliamentarian Jothi Mani, Congress Lok Sabha MP from Tamil Nadu’s Karur. Decrying the police brutality, Congress General Secretary KC Venugopal tweeted on Wednesday evening, “Brutally attacked, clothes torn, carried like a criminal. This is how Delhi Police treated a people’s representative, a member of parliament. Is this how the police should behave? Is this how a woman, a member of parliament should be treated?” The police had detained more than 200 leaders and workers, including Sachin Pilot. “Yesterday you saw Police enter Congress headquarters. They lathi-charged, detained hundreds of people. Senior people, MLAs, MPs, and office bearers of the party were brutalised. A woman MP’s clothes were torn. Such action is uncalled for. Never before has Police has taken such action,” Pilot was quoted as saying by ANI on Thursday.
Delhi Police have arrested over 800 Congress workers and several senior leaders in the past three days as the party workers protested against ED action before the agency’s headquarters at APJ Kalam Road and AICC headquarters at Akbar Road.
Following the party high command’s “Raj Bhawan Chalo” call Congress leaders and workers hit the streets in various parts of the country on Thursday. Telangana Congress held a massive protest before Telangana Raj Bhawan in Hyderabad. Several Congress workers and leaders were detained by the police. Resisting the arrests, senior leader and former Union minister Renuka Chowdhury entered into a heated argument with police men. She was seen grabbing a policeman by the scruff after which she was pulled away by other policemen and arrested.
A large number of Congress workers in Karnataka led by former chief minister Siddaramaiah and Congress state president DK Shivakumar took out a massive rally to Raj Bhawan on Thursday. Holding placards, banners, posters and raising slogans against the BJP government for allegedly trying to ensnare their leaders Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul, the Congress workers took out “Raj Bhavan Chalo” (march towards the Governor’s House). “We are not against the investigation but we condemn the conspiracy with ill-intention to frame our leader Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi in false case to tarnish their image,” Siddaramaiah said while addressing the rally. After submitting a memorandum to Governor Thawarchand Gehlot, the leaders and workers courted arrest.
Elsewhere in Chennai, Congress party leaders and workers staged massive protests over ED’s interrogation of Rahul Gandhi, leading to chaos in the city. The protesters were seen engaged in heated arguments with police as they burned effigies of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Police used water cannons and tear gas to disperse Congress workers protesting in Thiruvananthapuram.
Similar protests were held in Jaipur and Chandigarh by Congress workers and leaders. “They want to suppress Rahul Gandhi’s voice. They can’t scare Indira Gandhi’s grandson with lathis. Congress will be the reason behind BJP’s downfall,” said Rajasthan minister P Khachariyawas. Congress workers also held a protest in Chandigarh against the questioning of Rahul Gandhi by ED. Several workers of the party were detained by police.
“I cannot understand what has Rahul Gandhi done that he has been called for 3 days? Yesterday, Delhi Police barged into AICC office and beat up our MPs. Such vendetta politics has never been seen before. Government should not try to suppress voices,” said Punjab Congress chief Amarinder Singh Raja Warring was quoted by ANI as saying after the protests in Chandigarh.