Congress MLAs in Chhattisgarh decide to quit in protest against BJP’s approach to providing security

The Congress will resume its Parivartan Yatra (march for change) exactly from the same place in Chhattisgarh’s Bastar district, where Maoists ambushed a party convoy on May 25. The rally will restart from Jeeram Ghati of the Darbha area and proceed to Raipur, AICC secretary B.K. Hariprasad said after a meeting with office-bearers of the State Congress and some of the central leaders in Raipur on Sunday.

He, however, did not announce the date.

Condolence meetings

The Congress would organise special meetings in all district headquarters on June 6 to pay homage to the slain leaders and workers, and hold condolence meetings in all 146 blocks of Chhattisgarh the next day.

“However, some blocks of Bastar will be omitted for security reasons,” said Mr. Hariprasad.

At a Congress Legislature Party meeting here on Sunday, it was decided that all Congress MLAs in Chhattisgarh will resign from the Assembly to protest the ruling BJP’s approach to providing security to leaders. In a House of 90, the Congress tally is 39.

Party spokesperson Shailesh Nitin Tribedi said “the proposal has been unanimously adopted and will be sent to the party high command for approval.”

He complained that “BJP candidates who lost the election are given more security than top Congress and leaders.”

Twenty-six people including PCC chief Nand Kumar Patel, his son, Congress leader and Salwa Judum founder Mahendra Karma and the former MLA Uday Mudliyar were killed and 30 others, including senior leader Vidya Charan Shukla, injured in the Maoist attack. Among the killed were 10 security personnel.

AICC secretary B.K. Hariprasad and senior leader Motilal Vora refused to answer questions on selection of the next PCC chief. “Let us leave the decision to the Congress high command,” said Mr. Vora.

Asked about the ruling BJP’s allegation that the Congress was exploiting the Darbha (Bastar) strike to derive political mileage, Mr Hariprasad said that party was trying to “cover their shortcomings” by raising such issues. “This is stooping real low, we will not indulge in such acts.”