"Dictatorial" and "an attempt to disrupt plenary session": Congress blasts Modi govt over Khera's arrest
The Supreme Court has granted Khera interim bail till February 28 and agreed to the club of FIRs against him
Calling Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera's arrest "undemocratic" and "an attempt to disrupt the Plenary session" several Congress leaders have expressed their outrage.
Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot said said it reflects the "frustration" of the BJP.
"Senior Congress leader Pawan Khera was taken off the flight by the Assam Police while going from Delhi to participate in the Raipur Congress session. What was the emergency that the Assam Police came to Delhi and did this?" tweeted Gehlot.
"Are PM & HM unaware of this incident? India’s condition worsening day by day. Democracy is in danger, laws have gone for a toss. They (BJP) blame Indira Gandhi for emergency but what they’re doing is worse than emergency," asked Gehlot.
The Congress also tweeted from its official Twitter handle, deeming Khera's arrest as "dictatorial behaviour"
Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel hit out at the BJP government, stating that Khera's arrest is the BJP's attempt to disrupt the party's plenary session.
"The BJP-led Centre has been trying to disturb us to ensure the plenary session is not held successfully. Therefore, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) conducted raids at premises of our party leaders (in Raipur on Monday). Yesterday too raids were held at offices of three departments in bid to disturb the state government," Baghel said.
85th plenary session of the Congress scheduled to be held in Raipur from February 24-26.
"Now, our guests are being stopped (from coming to Raipur). Khera ji is our spokesperson and an eminent personality. He is not a criminal. De-boarding him from the flight clearly shows the Bharatiya Janata Party is very scared of the plenary session and is, therefore, trying to disturb it by any means," Baghel asserted.
Baghel said BJP leaders too have used objectionable words and statements against Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi as well as former prime minister Manmohan Singh.
Congress spokesperson Supriya Shrinate, who was also on the Indigo flight with Khera, said on Twitter, "What sort of high handedness is this? Is there any rule of law? On what grounds is this being done and under whose order?" she asked.
Accusing the government of "dictatorship", Shrinate said that the PM should be "able to answer the questions" Khera posed.
Congress General Secretary (organization) and Rajya Sabha MP K.C. Venugopal took a dig at BJP, and asked: "Has India become a banana republic?"
"It is totally condemnable the way they are doing these things. We are all going to Raipur for the plenary session, Pawan Khera was also travelling with us, suddenly they deplaned Pawan Khera without any valid reason," Venugopal told PTI at the tarmac.
Khera was arrested by Assam Police in connection with an FIR over alleged remarks against Prime Minister Narendra Modi made at a press conference on February 17 in Mumbai.
Khera's arrest came soon after he was deplaned from a flight to Raipur where he was going to attend the party’s plenary session. The Delhi Police said he was deplaned at the request of the Assam Police.
More than 50 Congress leaders who were travelling with Khera got off the plane and staged dharna at the airport. Congress leaders resisted the police efforts to take him away without an arrest warrant. Khera soon moved the Supreme Court seeking relief in the aftermath of multiple FIRs lodged against him in Assam, and Uttar Pradesh's Lucknow and Varanasi over his remarks.
"It's a long battle, I'm ready to fight," said Khera moving SC.
Representing Khera, senior advocate AS Singhvi told the Supreme Court that making those statements (against PM Modi) was "a mistake, a slip of tongue". Following an urgent hearing, the Supreme Court granted Khera interim bail till February 28, and agreed to club of FIRs against him.
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