The Delhi police cracked down on the Congress “Save Democracy” march held near the Red Fort this evening against the disqualification of Rahul Gandhi from parliament. Many of the MPs, including former Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat, have been detained.
Visuals from the spot showed slogan-shouting leaders being taken away in police vehicles. Sources said the Delhi Police had denied permission for the “Loktantra Bachao Mashal Shanti March” — from the Red Fort to the Town Hall in old Delhi’s Chandni Chowk — citing possible law and order issues.
In the campaign ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, Mr Gandhi had apparently said, “How come all thieves have the common surname Modi?” The BJP alleged it was an insult to the OBC (Other Backward Classes) community and a party leader in Gujarat, Purnesh Modi, filed a defamation case against him.
The Gujarat court, which sentenced him to two years in jail, also granted him bail and suspended the sentence. On Friday, he was formally disqualified by Lok Sabha.
Yesterday, the Congress held a “black” protest in parliament, in which they were joined by members of several other opposition parties including the Trinamool Congress and Telangana’s ruling Bharat Rashtra Samithi.
The month-long protest programme was announced later in the evening following a meeting between the Congress and 16 Opposition parties. The dinner meet was held at the home of party chief Mallikarjun Kharge.
The party also held press conferences in 35 cities, where they flagged their concerns about Mr Gandhi’s disqualification and the “danger to democracy”.
The Congress has said that it would take to the streets in a big way against Mr Gandhi’s disqualification and reach out to the public on the issue.