New Delhi: The Gandhis and former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh were briefly detained at a police station in Delhi this morning for defying orders as they tried to march towards Parliament. As a way of courting arrest, the Congress bosses forced their way past barricades after holding a rally against the government.
After a quick stop at the police station, they were allowed to drive to parliament.
The action on another sweltering morning was billed by the ruling BJP as a desperate attempt to distract from the stockpile of corruption charges that have accumulated around the Congress’ top leaders because of the AgustaWestland scam, which saw the Anglo Italian defense manufacturer paying bribes to win a helicopter contract when the Congress was in power.
“The over-reaction proves their guilt,” said Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi of the BJP.
The Gandhis have denied any link to the Agusta scam. But mention of Mrs Gandhi and her aides in documents reviewed by an Italian court which indicted Agusta executives for paying bribes, are being cited by the BJP as evidence that cannot be ignored. The Congress says that the documents which are notes and letters exchanged by middlemen, do nothing other than listing influential leaders which, it says, would naturally be from the Congress because it led the government at the time.
At the rally this morning, Mrs Gandhi hit out at the government, also making a direct attack on the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh or RSS, the ideological mentor of the ruling BJP. “I want to tell Nagpur, to those whose instructions run the Narendra Modi government – no matter what you accuse us of, we will not bow down.” She also stressed, “Life has taught me about struggles.”
The Congress demonstration was called to protest against the imposition of President’s Rule in two states that it governed – Arunachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand. The party says the BJP is misusing its power at the Centre to remove democratically elected governments in states led by the opposition.