Congress MP Rahul Gandhi was briefly barred from boarding a flight to Lucknow – from where he planned to travel to Lakhimpur Kheri to meet the families of farmers killed in Sunday’s violence – party sources said on Wednesday morning.
According to sources, PNR – a digital ID that can identify bookings – is being canceled by Gandhi and four of his colleagues, including two chief ministers of the Congress-ruled states, and the delegation was briefly stopped at the airport and everyone was allowed on before the plane overturned. Five on the board.
The other members of the delegation were Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel (who refrained from leaving Lucknow airport), his Punjab colleague Charanjit Channy, Casey Venugopal and Sachin Pilot.
A few hours ago, Mr. Gandhi addressed a press conference in Delhi, which he described as a “systematic attack on the peasantry” and “India was a democracy …”
“Before there was democracy (now) there is dictatorship in India. Politicians cannot go to Uttar Pradesh. We have been told since yesterday that we cannot go to Uttar Pradesh,” he said.
Mr Gandhi – who was not allowed to visit Lakhimpur Kheri, or even nearby Sitapur, where his sister and Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Bhadra was “illegally detained” – insisted, however, that he would try to meet the families of the farmers.
“Hindustan ki awaaz ko kuchla ja raha hai (Hindustan’s voice is being suppressed). “
“There is a limit to this … sooner or later there will be an explosion. We are trying to tell them (the ruling BJP) ‘Don’t do this. We are insisting on maintaining democracy. We are trying to convince them that you are a minister in this country.’ Can’t be managed by the boy, ”he said.
Eight people, including a BJP worker, were killed when violence erupted during a farmers’ protest in Lakhimpur Kheri ahead of Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Keshab Prasad Maurya’s visit.
Four of the dead were in the car, apparently part of a convoy of BJP workers who had come to greet Mr Maurya and were attacked after running over protesting farmers.
The convoy was allegedly driven by the son of Union Minister Ajay Mishra. Mr Mr Mishra told NDTV that when the car was his, neither he nor his son were at the scene of the collision.
However, a new video of the incident (which NDTV cannot independently verify) suggests that Mishra’s son – Ashis – was actually at the scene.
A murder case has been filed against Ashish Mishra but he has not been arrested yet.