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Over 200 Congress workers detained in Gujarat

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They were protesting against suspension of Opposition leader from Assembly

More than 200 Congress workers, including about two dozen prominent leaders of the Gujarat unit of the party, were detained when they tried to “march” towards Gandhinagar to protest against the suspension from the Assembly of Leader of the Opposition Shaktisinh Gohil and “expose” the “rampant corruption” in the Narendra Modi administration.

The Congressmen were detained soon after they assembled on the road to move towards Gandhinagar after a rally at the Sabarmati Gandhi Ashram. “Gandhinagar is not in Pakistan and we do not need anyone's ‘permission' to go the State capital,” was the call given by State party president Arjun Modhwadia at the rally following which the partymen decided to march towards Gandhinagar to register their protest against the “anti-democratic” action of the State government.

But as soon as the Congressmen assembled on the road to Gandhinagar, the police swooped on them and arrested the workers and the leaders. Besides Mr. Modhwadia, AICC secretary in charge of Gujarat affairs Mohan Prakash, and the party campaign committee chairman Shankarsinh Waghela were among those arrested by the police and were taken to the city police headquarters. They were released later.

The Congress had originally planned a rally to the Assembly premises to protest against Mr. Gohil's suspension, but it had to be changed as the police refused permission to take out a rally at the capital, following which the party shifted the rally to the Sabarmati Gandhi Ashram as it coincides with the anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi's “Dandi March” from the Ashram on this day in 1930 to launch the salt satyagraha.

Mr. Waghela claimed that thousands of Congress workers coming from different parts of the State were not allowed to enter Ahmedabad. Police blockades were erected at almost all entry points, where the vehicles carrying party workers were detained. “Despite the efforts of the police, thousands of workers turned up in the rally, which clearly showed that the Modi government's days are now numbered,” Mr. Waghela said. He cautioned the police and other government officers against “blindly following the diktats of Mr. Modi” and said “the time will soon come when they will have to answer the wrongs they have done at Mr. Modi's behest.”

Mr. Gohil was suspended from the House last week for the entire duration of the current budget session, due to end on March 30, after he refused to tender an “apology” for allegedly making “derogatory remarks” against some Ministers as “partners in corruption” with some major industrial houses in the good books of the Modi administration. Mr. Gohil refuted the charge and demanded that the House records be properly checked, but the ruling party, by a voice vote, adopted a motion declaring him guilty and demanding a public apology. The motion for his suspension was also carried by a voice for “insulting” the Chair after he refused to tender the apology sought by Speaker Ganpat Vasava.

Mr. Modhwadia decried the “narrow-mindedness” of the BJP leaders, pointing out that the BJP had on numerous occasions staged demonstrations against the Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar, but the Congress never attempted to project her as the “daughter of Dalit” to give castiest colour to political moves.

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Printable version | Dec 15, 2019 11:14:29 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/over-200-congress-workers-detained-in-gujarat/article2988539.ece

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