"Vehicles carrying Congress activists and leaders from Mumbai have been halted at Navsari on the highway, they are under the strict watch of the police to ensure nobody can get down and join Gandhi in Surat... This is nothing but trampling of democracy," said Balasaheb Thorat sharply.
MUMBAI — Thousands of Congress workers trooping down to Surat city have been halted in their tracks and prevented from going there to express solidarity with senior leader Rahul Gandhi, top office-bearers said here on Monday.
Leader of Congress Legislature Party Balasaheb Thorat said that Congressmen are going to Surat from all over India, including Maharashtra but the Gujarat Police are not allowing them to proceed ahead.
“Vehicles carrying Congress activists and leaders from here have been halted at Navsari on the highway, they are under the strict watch of the police to ensure nobody can get down and join Gandhi in Surat… This is nothing but trampling of democracy,” said Thorat sharply.
Around 10,000 Congress activists from all over Maharashtra, especially from Nashik, Ahmednagar, Dhule, Nandurbar, Pune, Mumbai and other districts went in buses, trucks and smaller vehicles from early morning to Surat to give ‘moral support’ to Gandhi in his legal-political battle.
Among the senior leaders, who were stopped, were Thorat and former Minister Yashomati Thakur but after they registered strong protests, they were allowed to leave, said a party office-bearer in Mumbai.
However, hundreds of other Congressmen, Youth Congress and Mahila Congress activists were stopped and barred from going ahead and their vehicles have been parked beside the highway behind police barricades, and they are not permitted to even step out of the vehicle, he added.
It may be recalled that the Wayanad (Kerala) MP, Rahul Gandhi has gone to the diamond hub in south Gujarat Monday to file an appeal against the Surat Court’s verdict last month sentencing him to two years’ jail term in a defamation case and his subsequent disqualification from the Lok Sabha.
State and Central BJP leaders have slammed the Congress’ show of strength as ‘pressure tactics’ and ‘drama’ to intimidate the judiciary, and putting one (Gandhi) family above the country. — IANS
Photo: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi with his sister and party leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra leaves his residence in New Delhi for Surat. — PTI