Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra in Varanasi on Friday. (Express Photo: Anand Singh)
CONGRESS GENERAL Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, who was in Varanasi on Friday, met students of Banaras Hindu University (BHU) and social activists who were arrested over protests against the new citizenship law and National Register of Citizens (NRC) and told them that the Congress would revoke CAA if voted to power in Uttar Pradesh in the 2022 Assembly polls or at the Centre in 2024.
Saying that she heard the “plight” of those arrested during the protests in Varanasi, she added that “injustice” was done to those who were raising their voice peacefully. “What the government is doing is against the Constitution. It is a bid to break the Constitution and break the country,” she said.
Ekta Shekhar, who is a mother of a 14-month-old and was arrested during a protest, alleged during the interaction with Priyanka that after she was arrested, she tried to explain to the police that she has a toddler who needs feeding but was told she should not have come to protest.
Ekta also alleged that despite their repeated pleas that they were not indulging in any violence, they were referred to as “dangai” (rioters). The activists requested Priyanka to assure that if her party was voted to power, both NRC and CAA would be quashed. Uttar Pradesh Congress president Ajay Kumar Lallu told The Indian Express, “Priyanka ji told those she met that while Chief Ministers of Congress-ruled states have refused to implement NRC and CAA, Congress, if the party comes to power in the state in the next elections, will roll back implementation and would withdraw the same if a Congress-led government is voted back to power at the Centre.”
After the interaction, Priyanka, who also offered prayers at Ravidas Temple, said, “They were protesting peacefully when police arrested them. They also told me about the slogans they were raising and none of them were provocative. Injustice was done to them.”
“The struggle will continue... they are raising the voice of the country,” said Priyanka. Hitting out at Priyanka Gandhi over her multiple visits to Uttar Pradesh to meet those injured in the protests, BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said she understands pain “selectively”. “It seems she understands the pain selectively as when she visited AIIMS trauma centre, she chose to look away from injured students who differed from her ideology. This reeks of selectivism,” Patra said at a press conference.