New Delhi: Congress leaders were prevented on Thursday from marching towards Rashtrapati Bhawan. The party leaders, who have been intensifying the attack on the government over the farm laws, then staged a strong protest outside the Congress headquarters.
Congress leaders Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and party MPs and leaders staged a sit-in protest outside their office and were detained by the Delhi Police for violating prohibitory orders.
The Congress had planned a protest march from the party office at Akbar Road to Rashtrapati Bhawan, where Congress leaders were to meet President Ram Nath Kovind and hand over a memorandum signed by 2 crore farmers.
However, the Delhi Police imposed prohibitory orders under section 144 CrPC around the Rashtrapati Bhawan, including the Congress office, following which the protesting Congress leaders were detained and taken to Mandir Marg police station.
Later, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, Leader of opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad and leader of Congress in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury met President Ram Nath Kovind and demanded withdrawal of the three farm laws.
"We told the president that the laws are anti-farmer and that farmers and labourers will suffer due to them. The government said these laws are in favour of the farmers, but the country is seeing that farmers are against these laws," Rahul Gandhi said.
"The farmers would not return till these laws are taken back. The government should convene a joint session of Parliament and repeal these laws," he told reporters after meeting the president.
He said all the opposition parties are standing with the farmers. He alleged that the laws were passed without any discussion or consultations, and they need to be withdrawn.
"'We three people went to the president, but took the voice of farmers to the president, by taking 2 crore signatures of farmers," he said, adding that "the farmers are in pain and are also dying, the prime minister will have to listen to them." If the prime minister does not take these laws back, the country will suffer, he claimed.
"Anyone trying to take power from Modi will be dubbed as anti-national," he alleged.
Gandhi further alleged that only three-four people are running the system and said the party is fighting this.
"It is an assault on the idea of India. The government is stopping our MPs from moving out of our office...There is no democracy in India, it is only in imagination, not in reality," he charged.
Earlier Priyanka Gandhi Vadra alleged that the government is committing a sin by name-calling the protesting farmers.
"It is a sin to brand farmers as anti-nationals. If government is terming farmers protest as sedition, it is a sin. The government is committing a sin by calling names to farmers," she said.
"The Government is arrogant, is doing only own politics and has no respect for farmers or the jawans, who are the sons of farmers," she charged.
She also alleged that anyone speaking against this government is name-called and dubbed as anti-nationals.
(From PTI feed - with minor edits)