On a sweltering Delhi morning, it was rare occasion to see Congress president Sonia Gandhi, vice-president Rahul Gandhi and former prime minister Dr Manmohan Singh inside a police station, where they were briefly detained for defying prohibitory orders, as the acrimony between the ruling BJP and Congress spilled from the Parliament on to streets.Leading a march towards Parliament, which was called ‘Loktantra Bachao Yatra’ (Save Democracy), a combative Sonia asked government ‘not to try to frighten’ Congress and life has taught her “to fight on”. After a quick stop at the police station, Congress leaders and MPs were allowed to drive to Parliament. Opposition leader in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad, party leader in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge and others courted arrest at Parliament Street Police station after they were stopped from marching to Parliament. They were released after a short while.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Countering Congress march BJP MPs and allied parties staged a dharna in front of the Gandhi statue outside the Parliament building. While Congress MPs alongwith Rahul Gandhi returned to Parliament House complex, the BJP Mps showed them playcards and raised slogans against the Congress leadership, claiming that they were worried with the judgment of an Italian court.The AgustaWestland issue appeared to be weighing heavily on her mind as Sonia targeted the Modi dispensation accusing it of starting “this game of levelling baseless allegations against leaders of opposition parties.”Sonia also launched a direct attack on the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). “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.”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. “Don’t think Congress is weak. We won’t succumb to your politics of vendetta and threats. We will fight you and continue to be an awakened opposition which will protect democracy,” Sonia said. “We have gathered at Jantar Mantar to send our message not just to Rai Seena Hill but also to people in Nagpur, who run Modi’s government,” Sonia said.Accusing the Modi government of “murdering democracy and destroying democratic institutions”, she said, “I want to say clearly that whatever effort you make to destroy democracy, we will not allow it to happen. We are used to waging struggle and we have faced many challenges in the past. “Modi government used pressure, money, incitement to destabilise our Governments in Arunachal, Uttarakhand. They may try to character assassinate us to deflect attention from their own failures. Character assassination is BJP’S old habit but I want to warn them: We won’t bow to politics of intimidation.On the raging farmers’ suicide issue, Sonia said, “We had taken steps for the betterment of farmers, workers, women and youth. But this government has destroyed it. Everybody is feeling harassed and sad today. Farmers are committing suicide. They have assumed power by showing false dreams.” She said Congress will continue to fight inside and outside Parliament against injustice. The Congress Chief appealed to her partymen “to reach out to the people and unmask Modi government in a democratic way”.Rahul said only two people’s writ runs in the country and those who stand against them are targeted with ‘false allegations.’ He said around 40 per cent of the country is facing a drought-like situation and ’50 farmers were committing suicide everyday’, but the prime minister ‘has nothing to say over the issue’. Making light of ‘Make in India’ programme, he said that Modi had promised two crore jobs per year after coming to power, but actually a mere 1.3 lakh jobs were generated last yearAttacking the Congress chief, union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said if Sonia she fears none, then why is she afraid of a fair investigation. Alleging that the UPA government committed scams in sky (AgustaWestland), land (Adarsh), sea (submarine) and underground (coal), he sought to know why two key people, former governors M K Narayanan and B V Wanchoo were not questioned in the VVIP chopper scam. It was done only after the NDA came to power, he said.


Protest v/s protest: How the Congress, BJP acrimony played out on the streets of Delhi