A file photo of Uttar Pradesh Congress chief Ajay Kumar Lallu. | Photo: Twiiter/AjayLalluINC
A file photo of Uttar Pradesh Congress chief Ajay Kumar Lallu. | Photo: Twiiter/AjayLalluINC
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Lucknow: The Congress party has resorted to what seems to be a token protest against the arrest of its Uttar Pradesh unit chief Ajay Kumar Lallu for alleged “forgery” in the bus-for-migrants political drama. 

So far, interim party president Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi have been silent on the arrest while other party leaders have only tweeted support while holding the occasional press conference.

Priyanka Vadra, whose offer of a thousand buses to the Yogi Adityanath government had triggered the political row leading to Lallu’s arrest, has also done her bit, tweeting twice in his support. 

The Congress party’s token protest has had other parties both surprised and amused.  

A Samajwadi Party MLC, who wished to remain unnamed, said, “Hum hote toh eeet se eeet baja dete, party ka adhyaksh giraftar hoga toh ghar per baith jaenge kya? (We would have fought tooth and nail. If the party president gets arrested, are we going to sit at home?)”  

A UP BJP leader said his party would’ve conducted a jail bharo andolan if their state president was arrested.  “I don’t know what other Congress MLAs are doing. They should also go to jail in solidarity,” he said.  

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Lallu was arrested on 20 May on allegations that he provided false documents regarding the buses. He was arrested twice on that day — first in Agra for sitting on a dharna to protest against the Yogi Adityanath administration for not granting permission to buses, arranged for migrants by the Congress, to enter the state.  

He was granted bail by an Agra court and released, but was arrested again in Agra after a second case was filed in Lucknow regarding forgery in documents of buses. 

His bail plea is scheduled to be heard Thursday, 28 May. 


Also read: How her Leftist advisors left Priyanka, and Congress, red faced in UP over buses for migrants


Muted Congress reaction

The Congress reaction to the arrest has been muted so far.  

The party’s official Twitter handle has tweeted just twice on the issue, quoting party spokesperson Supriya Shrinate and UP CLP leader Aradhana Mishra, who had held a press conference calling for Lallu’s release.  

 

Uttar Pradesh Congress leaders such as MP P.L. Punia, former MP Rajiv Shukla, Brijlal Khabri, former MLAs Ajay Rai and Pankaj Malik have been the only ones to oppose Lallu’s arrest so far.

Priyanka Gandhi also posted a video on her Twitter handle Tuesday backing Lallu.  

“Having lived a life of struggle, perseverance and grit, UP Congress President Shri. Ajay Kumar Lallu knows well the suffering of displaced and marginalised people. He has fought for them steadfastly throughout his career,” she tweeted.   

Posting an extended comment with the hashtag #ReleaseAjayLallu, she added: “Throwing him into prison on baseless charges during a pandemic reveals the undemocratic and single-mindedly opportunistic mindset of the Yogi Government and violates all humanitarian principles.” 

Apart from Priyanka, senior UP Congress leader Jitin Prasada also tweeted in Lallu’s support. But there has been silence from other senior UP leaders such as R.P.N Singh, Pramod Tiwari and Sriprakash Jaiswal among others.


Also read: Bus row intensifies, UP’s BJP govt slams Congress-ruled Rajasthan for bill to ferry students


Section of Congress questions silence

The muted response has led some Congress leaders to question the party’s stance on the issue.  

According to party sources, Lallu was not even involved in the conversation over the buses.  

“What was his fault? He was not even part of email conversations between the office of Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and UP government officials during the bus row,” a senior UP Congress leader told ThePrint.  

Another young UP Congress leader said if the police had arrested leaders such as Raj Babbar, Pramod Tiwari or even Jitin Prasada, the entire Congress organisation would have come on the streets even in a pandemic.

“If it had happened, then surely it would not be a ‘symbolic protest’. When former state president Rita Joshi was arrested in 2009 during Mayawati ‘s regime, we were all on the streets. A big protest happened at that time,” the leader said.

Lallu is a two-time MLA from Tamkuhi Raj constituency of Kushinagar district. An OBC leader, he joined the Congress before the assembly elections in 2012. He was the CLP leader in 2017 and replaced Raj Babbar as party president in October 2019.


Also read: Congress finds its UP chief in two-time MLA who was once a construction worker


‘We are protesting but following lockdown rules’

According to UP Congress vice-president Virendra Chaudhary, the party has been doing its bit to get Lallu released.  

“We have protested in our party office and even made a Facebook live of it. We are sending emails to the governor regarding this issue,” Chaudhary said. “Several FIRs have been lodged against our leaders who were trying to protest on the streets. We are also following lockdown rules as the whole world is suffering from this pandemic. There are no such orders from top leadership to go on the street. We are trying our best to bring back Lalluji.”

According to UP Congress officials, Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi have talked to Lallu’s family and promised them full support. The party’s legal cell is also in touch with Lallu.

“We urge UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath to immediately release our UP president Ajay  Lallu, who was only helping migrants,” said CLP leader Aradhana Mishra. “We are continuously raising this issue.”  


Also read: After jobs, Yogi’s UP govt plans to come up with low-rent housing for returning migrants


 

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8 Comments Share Your Views

8 COMMENTS

  1. You are correct sir….Rest all news media and political parties smells like axe deodrent and clean like drinking water…..

  2. This type of agitation was called ‘satyagraha’ but there is neither ‘satya’ nor ‘aagrah” these days.

  3. This is the double standard Congress is known for.
    Just a mild comment by a TV anchor on Sonia created so much fuss that multiple FIRs were filed all over India against the anchor. But when chief of the party in UP Ajay lallu is jailed not even a symbolic protest.
    Congress is only for Gandhis. Others do not matter at all.

  4. Currently people are scared of corona and it is not right to come on road which would be dangerous and I support their decision not to come on road. Today’s biggest problem is presstitutes. Look at the how TV media is only asking opposition like opposition is running central government.

  5. Print has to understand this difference between congress and other parties ….When british put Nehru and patel in jail Gandhiji went for satyagraha only….Not went for any violence..Parties or leaders who don’t have any role even in freedom struggle can open their mouth wide open and harmlessly bark……Hope at least Print has to note this…

    • Leave the Congress.. What surprises me is that you seem to put The Print in a higher esteem than Congress…

      If Congress is gutter the The print is Sewer…

      • You are correct sir….Rest all news media and political parties smells like axe deodrent and clean like drinking water…..

    • Parties don’t take part in freedom struggle Bhagat singh, sukhdev, rajguru etc were not from any party it’s about India not about a party specially a party which was made by a Britisher 🤣🤣 come out of this congress mania because there was only onthousandsand this country is not one party’s personal property thousand of people sacrificed their life for India

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