The protest coincided with the ED’s questioning of party chief Sonia Gandhi. Rahul accused BJP of turning India into a “police state”. The MPs said they were protesting against the “silencing of democracy”, which included suspension of MPs for “demanding a discussion on price rise” in Parliament, as also the “misuse of agencies” by Modi government against opposition leaders.
Meanwhile, the opposition parties sent a letter to President Droupadi Murmu seeking her intervention in the “continued and intensifying misuse of investigative agencies by the Modi government as part of systematic vendetta campaign against its political opponents”. It said law cannot be used arbitrarily and selectively against opposition leaders, to destroy reputations and weaken the forces fighting BJP ideologically and politically.
While congratulating Murmu on becoming the President, the letter also complained against the “stubborn refusal” of the government to have a debate in Parliament on price rise and increase in GST rate on essential food items.
The Rahul-led contingent, including Mallikarjun Kharge, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, K Suresh, marched with a huge banner slamming the “misuse” of ED and agencies. On being blocked at Vijay Chowk, Rahul sat on the road, before he and other MPs were put in different police buses and taken away. “India is a police state, Modi is a king,” Rahul said.
He tweeted, “The country’s ‘King’ has ordered — whosoever asks questions on unemployment, inflation, bad GST, Agnipath — put them in jail.” Leader of Opposition in RS Mallikarjun Kharge alleged that he, along with other Congress MPs, were mistreated by police. “This is a conspiracy by the Modi-Shah duo,” he said. Lashing out at ED’s questioning of Sonia, AICC spokesman and MP Jairam Ramesh said, “There is absolutely no case of money laundering or any other case. It is a systematic campaign of vilification and politics by PM Modi.”