The Congress member of the Lok Sabha representing the Scheduled Tribe reserved seat of Dahod, Prabhaben Taviad, was on Friday evicted from the dais from where Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi was addressing a farmers' rally as part of the State government's “Krishi Mahotsava” programme.
Ms. Taviad and the local Congress member of the Assembly, C. K. Raolji, were invited to attend the official function. Mr. Raolji, along with some 40 of his supporters, however, was detained by the police minutes before the start of the programme when they tried to burn an effigy of Mr. Modi near the venue in protest against the State government's alleged “anti-tribal policies.”
Just after Mr. Modi resumed his seat after addressing the gathering, Ms. Taviad, who was on the dais, was seen rushing towards the Chief Minister and angrily gesturing at him. Mr. Modi, however, did not even look at her. Some half-a-dozen lady security staff immediately rushed towards Ms. Taviad and evicted her from the dais even as the MP resisted and several times tried to breach the cordon.
Ms. Taviad later told mediapersons that she was only asking Mr. Modi why Mr. Raolji and other Congress workers were arrested and when they would be released.
“The Chief Minister did not even show the common courtesy to reply to an MP,” Ms. Taviad said. She said she had every right to be present on the dais and question Mr. Modi as it was the State government programme organised at the expense of the State exchequer and not of the Bharatiya Janata Party,” she said.
Both State Congress president Arjun Modhvadia and the Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly Shaktisinh Gohil condemned the rough treatment of the party MP in the presence of the Chief Minister. Mr. Gohil demanded a public apology from Mr. Modi for “publicly humiliating a woman tribal representative.”
Mr. Modi, in his address, accused the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government at the Centre of pursuing anti-farmer policies and said the cause of all the problems of the farming community lay at the doorstep of the Central government. He also claimed that he was regularly getting threats from Delhi of being arrested and dared the Centre to put him behind bars.
Ridiculing Mr. Modi's claim, Mr. Modhvadia demanded that Mr. Modi disclose who had threatened him with arrest. He said Mr. Modi was raising the bogey of arrest time and again only to get public sympathy and as an election gimmick.