With the road to the All India Congress Committee (AICC) headquarters blocked and heavy police outside party president Sonia Gandhi and former chief Rahul Gandhi’s house on Wednesday evening, the Congress alleged that the principal Opposition party was “under siege”.
The scaling up of the security cordon and placing of multiple barricades happened soon after the Enforcement Directorate (ED) temporarily sealed the premises of Young Indian (YI) in the Congress-owned National Herald office in Delhi as part of an ongoing money laundering investigation.
A senior officer of the Delhi Police, however, said that they received input from the Special Branch about the possibility of protesters gathering outside the Congress headquarters and that was why the road was blocked as a precautionary measure.
Vendetta politics, says Jairam Ramesh
“The Congress is under siege. Delhi police have surrounded our HQs, and homes of INC President and ex-President. This is the worst form of vendetta politics. We will not submit! We will not be silenced! We will continue to raise our voice against injustices and failures of Modi Sarkar!,” tweeted Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh.
Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha and party veteran Mallikarjun Kharge raised on the floor of the House the issue of police barricading the residence of the Congress president, former party chief and the party headquarters. The Chair, however, did not allow it as the matter did not pertain to the Bill under discussion in the Rajya Sabha.
Senior leaders, including Mr. Ramesh, Abhishek Singhvi and Ajay Maken, addressed a press conference at the party headquarters and alleged that the police action was to intimidate the party for planning a protest against inflation, Goods and Services Tax and unemployment outside Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s residence on August 5.
“We have got this letter from the Deputy Commissioner of Police today, stating that we cannot hold any protest,” Mr. Maken said.
“Our voices will not be silenced by these cheap tactics...We will never relent, whatever the cost. We will never abdicate our responsibility to the principal Opposition. We believe that these are the actions of a frustrated political regime,” Mr. Singhvi said.
Mr. Ramesh added, “There is an ancient saying ‘vinaash kaale viprit buddhi’ (when the end is near, you start acting unwisely) ... This was started today by the Home Minister and the police force under him to stop our Friday protests. It’s clear that the Prime Minister believes in the politics of revenge and threat.”
Countering the allegation, a senior Delhi Police officer said, “In anticipation of protests, we deployed officers and barricaded the Janpath and Akbar Road for a few hours and later reopened it for the commuters”.