Chandigarh, Mar 26 (PTI) The Punjab and Haryana units of Congress held a day-long ‘Sankalp Satyagraha’ here on Sunday to protest against Rahul Gandhi’s disqualification from Lok Sabha, with party leaders hitting out at the BJP-led Centre alleging that it was behaving in a dictatorial manner.
Both units organised separate events at the state headquarters as part of the protest that saw the participation of many senior leaders.
Speaking to reporters, Punjab Congress president Amrinder Singh Raja Warring alleged that the action against Rahul Gandhi was taken because the BJP-led Centre was “scared” of his next speech in Parliament on the Adani issue.
In February, Rahul Gandhi led a blistering opposition attack in Lok Sabha over the Hindenburg report, claiming that the meteoric rise in Gautam Adani’s fortunes happened after the BJP came to power in 2014 as he rose in the global rich list from the 609th to the second spot eventually.
Warring said a “tearing hurry” was shown by the Lok Sabha Secretariat in disqualifying Rahul Gandhi allegedly at the behest of the BJP-led government, which he alleged was behaving in a dictatorial manner.
“Earlier, ruling parties used to listen to opposition voices. Even when Congress-led UPA was in power, opposition was heard. But now, opposition leaders who question the government are treated as enemies,” Warring said.
Gandhi was disqualified from the Lok Sabha on Friday, nearly 24 hours after a court in Gujarat’s Surat convicted him in a 2019 defamation case, an action the Congress slammed as the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) “vindictive politics” and vowed to fight against it legally and politically.
The disqualification will bar Gandhi (52), a four-time MP, from contesting polls for eight years unless a higher court stays his conviction.
Senior Haryana Congress leader Bhupinder Singh Hooda said the party will take a call on the legal aspect of the disqualification, but there is a political aspect to it too, he said.
“I have been a lawyer too, but nowhere have I seen such tearing hurry being shown in disqualifying membership of a lawmaker in this manner. In democracy, the voice of opposition cannot be muzzled like this,” Hooda, the former chief minister, who is Leader of Opposition (LoP) in Haryana, told reporters after the day-long ‘Sankalp Satyagraha’.
The Congress organised a day-long ‘Satyagraha’ on Sunday in solidarity with Rahul Gandhi in front of Gandhi statues at all states and district headquarters.
Hooda slammed the BJP over its charge that Rahul Gandhi insulted the OBC community with his 2019 ‘Modi’ remark for which he has been convicted in a criminal defamation case and said Congress respects OBCs.
Congress’ Rajya Sabha MP Deepender Singh Hooda said the BJP rivals have condemned Gandhi’s disqualification.
Hitting out at the BJP-led Centre, Hooda alleged that institutions in this country are being weakened and opposition is being targeted.
Haryana Congress chief Udai Bhan said Rahul Gandhi has been raising his voice against the BJP-led Centre on various issues.
“They want to silence his voice, but they are mistaken,” said the Haryana Congress chief.
Speaking to reporters, Punjab’s Leader of Opposition Partap Singh Bajwa said it is time for “all democratic forces to get together”.
Bajwa said institutions are being attacked in the country and opposition is being targeted.
“Whosoever raises questions in public interest are either not given answers or their voice is suppressed,” he said, adding that if the government thinks they can silence Congress’ and Rahul’s voice, who had raised the Adani issue, they are mistaken.
Bajwa said it was time for the opposition to join hands. Today, it is Rahul Gandhi who has been disqualified, going by current indications, tomorrow it can be top leaders of other opposition parties too.
On Rahul Gandhi, he said, “he will continue to raise his voice on issues which are in public interest and concern millions of people of the country. They (govt) cannot silence him for speaking the truth”.
Senior Punjab Congress leaders, including Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa and Rana K P Singh, were also present in the demonstration.
The Congress has said that Rahul Gandhi is not alone and millions of Congressmen and people irrespective of their political affiliations will join him in this fight for truth and justice. PTI SUN VSD RDT
This report is auto-generated from PTI news service. ThePrint holds no responsibility for its content.