Priyanka meets two SP women workers 'attacked' during panchayat polls

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Lucknow, Jul 17 (PTI) Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Saturday met two women workers of the Samajwadi Party with whom BJP activists had allegedly misbehaved during the recent block panchayat chief elections, and demanded repolling at places where violence took place.

Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav had earlier alleged that BJP workers misbehaved with his party candidate Ritu Singh and her proposer Anita Yadav in Lakhimpur Kheri, pulling their 'sarees'.

In a terse message to the ruling party, Priyanka in a Hindi tweet said, 'The goons of the BJP involved in 'cheerharan' of the democracy should hear that women will become pradhans, block pramukhs, MLAs, MPs and prime minister, and defeat the government, which gives patronage to those committing atrocities against women.' 'For justice of all victims of the panchayat poll violence -- all my sisters and citizens -- I will write a letter to the State Election Commission,' she further said.

After meeting the SP workers, Gandhi told reporters at Semra village in Lakhimpur Kheri’s Pathgava block that it was their constitutional right to file nomination papers and contest elections 'but this right of theirs was snatched'.

'They were beaten up while they had gone to file nominations and disrobed. You can imagine what was going on in their mind. Along with Anita, his 19-year-old son was also there,' Priyanka said, alleging that nobody tried to stop it.

'A CO who tried to intervene, was suspended, and no action was taken on those who were standing there. The administration remained silent,' she alleged.

Priyanka told reporters that she came to meet them as they are women and her 'sisters'.

'I want to tell (them) that each and every woman of India stands with them. I told them not to feel afraid, and have confidence,' she said.

'One day, you will file the nomination papers and emerge victorious in the polls. You must fight and all of us will fight for you,' Gandhi said.

The Congress general secretary said, 'This is a fight for democracy. Women were given reservation in our democracy so that their rights can be upheld. And the situation has become such wherein a woman went to file her nomination papers and she was beaten up.' 'This is no democracy. I demand that this election be cancelled and also at all those places where these types of incidents have occurred and re-polling be held,' she said.

Putting the ball in the state government's court to fix things, she said all those responsible for such an act should be held accountable.

'Whenever, even a minor incident of this nature happens, the polls are cancelled, and re-polls are held. Can anyone win the elections by bringing 10 goons and indulging in violence. Is this our democracy today? We need to ask this. You (media) should raise questions,' she said, stressing that a video of the incident shows everything.

'Do you want that the democracy be shattered in this way in the state and in the country? And the prime minister is praising and has congratulated for the (panchayat) polls. In every district, some incident has taken place --- be it poll violence, bomb explosion or atrocities against women,' she said.

UP Congress chief Ajay Kumar Lallu was also present during Priyanka's meeting with Ritu and Anita.

The Congress leader is on a two-day visit to Lucknow ahead of the crucial Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls next year. PTI NAV SRY RDK RDK

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