BJP Gov’t Allows Congress' Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi to Visit Lakhimpur in India’s Uttar Pradesh

© AFP 2023 / ABID BHATIndia's Congress party leader Rahul Gandhi gestures while he addresses the party members and workers in Srinagar, on 10 August 2021 during his visit
India's Congress party leader Rahul Gandhi gestures while he addresses the party members and workers in Srinagar, on 10 August 2021 during his visit - Sputnik International, 1920, 06.10.2021
Ashish Mishra, the son of federal Minister of State for Home Affairs Ajay Kumar Mishra, has been charged with murder after farmers in Lakhimpur Kheri district alleged that he was driving the SUV that ran over demonstrators during a protest in Uttar Pradesh state.
Days after keeping all politicians at bay from visiting the violence-hit Lakhimpur Kheri District in India's Uttar Pradesh, the state government finally relented on Wednesday and allowed two key politicians from the Congress party, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, as well as three others to visit.
Rahul Gandhi will also meet his sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, who was initially detained and later arrested in Sitapur District. Vadra is expected to be released soon.
"Permission has been given to five leaders of Congress, including Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, to visit Lakhimpur," Navneet Sehgal, the Additional Chief Secretary in the State Government's Information Department, told the media.
The development came hours after a press meet was organised by Congress Parliamentarian Rahul Gandhi in Delhi after the state government had initially not permitted him to visit Lakhimpur Kheri, saying that no one would be allowed to visit the violence-hit district to vitiate its atmosphere.
Rahul Gandhi Lashes Out at BJP Government at Delhi Press Meet
Lashing out at the BJP government, the Congress parliamentarian announced in the morning that he along with two state chiefs -- Bhupesh Baghel (Chhattisgarh) and Charanjit Singh Channi (Punjab) -- will visit Lakhimpur Kheri to understand the prevailing situation there and lend support to the farmers' families.
Slamming Prime Minister Narendra Modi for not visiting Lakhimpur Kheri, he referred to the violence that left eight people, including four farmers killed, as "a systematic attack on farmers' rights".
He further said that their delegation is going to the district to give the families confidence that people cannot be run over by the son of a federal minister. "We are trying to give the families hope. They do not have hope."
BJP Slams Rahul Gandhi for ‘Trying to Disrupt Law & Order’
Soon after Rahul Gandhi’s press conference, BJP national spokesperson Sambit Patra told media that the Congress politician was trying to disrupt law and order.
Patra also accused Gandhi of trying to “harvest” votes in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh state and urged him to stop doing it.
“The most important topic in the country is the establishment of peace. There should be no violence, there should be peace, we should move on the path of development and it is the duty of every responsible political party,” he said.
Earlier in a separate press meet held in state capital Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh Minister Sidharth Nath Singh also addressed a press conference in Lucknow.
"They (opposition politicians) got a chance for a photo opportunity and do Twitter politics while sitting at home. Their objective is to take photos and post them on social media. No one will be allowed to vitiate the atmosphere," he stated. "If they want to visit Lakhimpur, they can do after some days and meet the victims’ families. We have no objection to it.”
Delhi State Chief Kejriwal Hits Out at Federal Government for Being Silent
In a virtual press conference, Delhi State Chief Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday slammed the BJP-led federal government for its “silence” over the violence in Lakhimpur Kheri.
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) convener also demanded the immediate removal of federal minister Ajay Kumar Mishra, whose son Ashish Mishra was allegedly in the SUV that mowed down the protesting farmers.
Claiming that the government is shielding alleged "killers", he asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi why the culprits involved in the violence had not been arrested yet.
Eight people, including four farmers, were killed on Sunday in Lakhimpur Kheri when a federal cabinet minister's convoy hit a group of farm protesters, leading to violent clashes.
Indian media sources had earlier reported that a total of nine people had died in the incident.
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