Gujarat Assembly gherao, Cong men detained

Police detain Congress party leaders and supporters during 'Khedut Aakrosh rally' and 'Assembly gherao march', in Gandhinagar, on Tuesday. PTI

Top Congress leaders and several others were detained here on Tuesday after the party workers clashed with police as they attempted to gherao the Gujarat Assembly seeking farm loan waiver.

Those detained included state party chief Amit Chavda and state Congress party in charge Rajiv Satav.

A large posse of policemen were on guard in the state capital as the Congress had threatened to carry out a siege of state Assembly after their gathering of farmers and party workers at Satyagraha Chhavni under the aegis of relatively sparsely attended ‘Khedut aakrosh rally’ (Farmers angst rally). Post the rally, Congressmen, led by Chavda and Satav, tried to muscle their way towards Assembly, which is meeting for two-day monsoon session from Tuesday.

“The march to Assembly and its siege shall not stop even if lathis are showered or guns fired,” Chavda said at the rally.

However, except for minor skirmishes and stone throwing, the march turned out to be a damp squib as Congress leaders walked into police vans without much protest. Among the other senior Congressmen detained include former state party chief Arjun Modhvadia and legislator Harshad Ribadia.

Though Chavda later acceded that they were unable to carry out their threat of encircling the Assembly, the programme was a success. “Despite large presence of police and its atrocities, thousands of farmers could gather for the rally and give voice to their angst,” he said.

Satav on his part said that with Tuesday’s rally, the Congress has begun series of agitations against the state BJP government and would not stop till complete farm loan waiver was announced.

In another incident, Congress legislator Virji Thumar was seen grappling with lady police official and pushing her as she tried to nab him. Thumar on his part said that he was unaware of pushing a lady cop, alleging that police personnel present were acting in a partisan manner.

“I am an MLA and had my identity card around my neck and yet I was prevented from going inside the Assembly,” he told reporters stating that this even as all BJP legislators were being allowed inside the Assembly.

Reacting to Congress allegations, state deputy chief minister Nitin Patel retorted back by reminding the Opposition of atrocities committed by earlier Congress governments on farmers in the state. “The Congress has done nothing for the farmers but fired upon them. It is under the BJP rule that the Sardar Sarovar project has progressed rapidly and farmers are getting their dues,” Patel said.

Meanwhile, the first day of the two-day Assembly session was adjourned after paying tributes to former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

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Gujarat Assembly gherao, Cong men detained

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