Amid rain & police crackdown, Congress vows to fight 'dictatorship'; skits, songs add colors to protest
Thousands of Congress workers, IYC, Seva Dal members, Mahila Congress activists, along with other outfits associated with the grand old party reached Cong HQ early Friday to protest against price rise
Braving heavy rain and police crackdown, Congress activists and leaders vowed to fight the “onset of dictatorship in India”, a day after Rahul Gandhi dared Modi government to do whatever they want to do, saying that the party will not be intimidated by the government.
In the wake of the call given by the Congress for a nationwide agitation against price rise and anti-people policies of the Modi government, thousands of party party workers, members of youth Congress, Mahila Congress activists, and members of Seva Dal, along with other outfits associated with the grand old party, reached the Congress headquarters in the early hours of Friday.
An activist who lives in Rohini told NH that he and his friends had reached the party office before 6 am.
“We knew that the police would not allow us to reach the party office, so we left our home before 5 am.”
Hundreds of Congress workers and activists from other states have been camping in the lawns of the All India Congress Committee headquarters since the last two nights. Waterproof tents were erected to protect them from the intermittent rain. Hundreds of the Congress workers who endured an arduous journey to reach the office took rest for a while in these tents.
A group of Congress workers who came from Rai Bareli – a Congress bastion – last night, were particularly unhappy over the treatment meted out to the Congress president Sonia Gandhi.
“We consider Sonia ji as our daughter, daughter-in-law. Our relationship with the Gandhi family dates back to the days of Indira Gandhi. If the daughter-in-law of Indira ji is humiliated, it is a slap on our face,” said Ram Singh.
When this correspondent reached AICC around 9 am, section 144 was imposed in the Lutyens zone. Even media persons were allowed only after multiple security checks.
Hundreds of Congress workers were stopped on Akbar Road, near India Gate leading to the Congress office.
Though the police have installed multiple barricades in front of the Congress office on Akbar Road, hundreds of workers jumped over them and sat on the road, demanding permission to take out a protest march against price hike and GST till the Prime Minister's residence.
Notably, various creative banners were placed in each and every corner of the party office which at once drew attention of anybody passing by. A banner reading “Gabbar Singh Tax” was displayed prominently.
Adding colours to the protest, Congress workers were dancing, singing, shouting slogans, and cheering up even amid the rains. Journalists covering the Congress beat said they have seen the Congress workers protesting with a lot of grit and determination in the recent past.
A team of Congress workers dressed in black, who came from Haryana, performed skits peppered with dialogues in typical Haryanvi, slogans in standard Hindi and a few songs. The theme of the skit was based on the “corporate loot and sufferings of the common man of the country”.
Wearing a Gandhi cap and dressed in all whiles, Seva Dal activists were shouting slogans in another corner of the AICC. They slammed the RSS and the BJP's Gujarat Model through their slogans.
The leader of the team shouted, “Pahle lada tha goro se, ab ladenge choro se" (fought against Britishers in the past, will fight against thieves now) and "Hindustan nahi banega Sanghistan (India cannot be turned into an RSS-nation)”, while the activists responded with enthusiasm and zeal.
“Wo chalate lathi danda, hum fahrate jhanda (while they attack with batons, we unfurl the tricolor),” shouted Congress activists.
Political observers believe that the questioning of Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi by the ED has touched a nerve with the Congress party.
“The Congress is now realising that the polity of the country has changed in a way that if democracy is not defended today, it will be impossible to defend it tomorrow,” said a senior journalist who has covered the Congress for decades.
He added, “Rahul Gandhi saying ‘democracy is a memory in this country’ assumes significance as it reflects the thinking of the main opposition party which shied away from hitting the street.”
“It also shows the urgency and the urge to change the status quo,” said the political observer adding, “Congress workers are following the model of protest politics – singing, creative sloganeering, catchy lines and banners. It shows that a change is taking place at the heart of the grand old party.”