Lakhimpur Kheri violence: Nervous BJP trying to blunt Rahul Gandhi’s effort to reach out to farmers’ kin
Analysts believe that the BJP was put on the back foot by the aggressive campaign launched by the Congress after the Lakhimpur Kheri violence, especially with Priyanka Gandhi being at the forefront
Anxious and nervous over Congress’ all-out attack over the Lakhimpur Kheri violence, the Yogi government on Wednesday tried to blunt Rahul Gandhi’s effort to reach out to the families of the farmers allegedly killed by Union Minister Ajay Kumar Mishra’s son.
Congress leaders and workers travelling to Lakhimpur Kheri with Rahul Gandhi told NH that first they tried to stop Rahul Gandhi by imposing section 144 in and around Lucknow airport and then deployed a huge paramilitary force to confine him within the airport.
“They allowed Rahul to go out of the airport only after thousands of Congress workers thronged the airport,” said Shahnawaz Aalam, head of the Uttar Pradesh Congress minority cell, who was detained by the police when he tried to reach the airport.
“Finally, after a brief scuffle, heated arguments, and out of fear of being exposed in the media, they allowed the Rahul-led Congress delegation to step out of the airport,” Alam said.
Along with Rahul Gandhi, Chhattisgarh CM Bhupesh Baghel and Punjab CM Charanjit Singh Channi were allowed to visit Lakhimpur Kheri.
UP Congress leader Sadaf Jafar, who was travelling with Rahul Gandhi’s convoy, told NH that her car was stopped midway.
“Along with the media, the convoy of 400-500 vehicles filled with Congress workers was stopped. The police has done heavy barricading, and buses were parked on the road to stop us from reaching Sitapur,” she said.
“The BJP government in UP and at the Centre is making every effort to blunt Rahul Gandhi’s effort to reach out to the farmers,” said Jafar over the phone, adding, “They are trying to delay the visit as much as possible.”
As per UP Congress general secretary Anil Yadav, who has been camping outside the guest house in Sitapur where Priyanka Gandhi has been kept under arrest, the Yogi government has:
Suspended internet in Lakhimpur Kheri and neighbouring areas
Closed roads leading to Lakhimpur Kheri by putting heavy barricades on the road
Deployed multi-layered security check-ups to prevent Congress workers to gather en masse
Detained thousands across the state and put leaders under house arrest
Incidentally, former Rajasthan Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot was not allowed to cross the Ghazipur border. He was scheduled to reach Lakhimpur Kheri with Rahul Gandhi to meet the families of the deceased farmers.
Analysts believe that the BJP was put on the back foot by the aggressive campaign launched by the Congress after the violence, especially with Priyanka Gandhi being at the forefront.
“The whole BJP machinery scrambled to defuse the situation in less than 24 hours out of fear of electoral losses in the forthcoming Assembly polls. Even BKU leader Tikait was used to get the desired outcome,” said a Lucknow watcher.