'Why couldn't ED visit Sonia Gandhi's residence to question her or send her a questionnaire'
Congress leaders and workers gathered at AICC headquarters were belligerent at the development, pointing out that it was just a tactic by Modi govt to divert nation's attention from burning issues
Even as Congress president Sonia Gandhi was summoned for questioning by the Enforcement Directorate (ED), scores of party leaders and workers who had congregated at its headquarters at Akbar Road to stage protests expressed belligerence at the development.
The overall mood was anti-Modi, anti-ED and pro-Sonia Gandhi, with those present pointing out that the central agency could have questioned the Congress president at her residence or sent her a questionnaire instead of summoning her to its office in Delhi.
They also felt that it was just a tactic by Modi govt to divert the nation's attention from burning issues.
Earlier, ED had summoned former Congress President Rahul Gandhi for several rounds of questioning spread over as many as five days.
The AICC headquarters were turned into a virtual fortress by security forces. The road leading to it was blocked and a large police contingent was present in the vicinity. Only people carrying valid media identify cards and those whose names figured on a police list were allowed entry.
Workers of Congress Sewa Dal and Mahila Congress were seen shouting slogans against the Enforcement Directorate and Narendra Modi. Congress workers shouted slogans such as ‘Jab bhi Modi darta hai, ED ko aage karta hai’ and ‘Sonia Gandhi zindabad’.
Mahila Congress workers were holding placards bearing Sonia Gandhi's photograph on them.
Senior Congress leaders, including Members of Parliament had started gathering at the AICC office soon after 10 AM, closely followed by Sewa Dal activists and women belonging to Mahila Congress.
After seeing the crowd, the police announced that Section 144 of CrPC had been imposed in the area and so all should go into the premises. Soon, women constables of Rapid Action Force (RAF) began to apprehend women for violating the law putting them in police buses parked there.
Similarly, RAF detained some Sewa Dal people also. This all created a commotion.
Meanwhile, Sonia Gandhi car came out of her house, 10 Janpath, and reached the AICC, which is adjacent to 10 Janpath. Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi accompanied Sonia Gandhi. The senior Congressmen along with workers marched with the cavalcade of Sonia Gandhi for about two hundred metres to express their solidarity. About two hundred metres away from AICC office barricades were put by the police. All Congress people were stopped at this barricade and Sonia Gandhi's cavalcade was allowed to pass.
All the senior Congress leaders returned at the gate of AICC and sat on dharna shouting slogans against Modi and ED. The two busses, in which women workers of Mahila Congress were kept, were sent to police station, after which one bus of Sewa Dal people was sent and later congress MPs and senior leaders were arrested.
The anger was visible among the Congress leaders present there and they were openly saying that this action is not against Sonia Gandhi but it is a tactic to divert attention from burning issues that the people of this country are facing. Senior leader Rajiv Shukla said, “As opposition raises public issues and the government is disturbed by this, it wants to crush the voice of the Congress.”
Newly elected Rajya Sabha member and chairman of Congress Minority Cell Imran Pratapgarhi said, “Present government is using ED as a weapon to target the opposition.”