Congressional march to President stopped, Priyanka Gandhi taken into custody

New Delhi:

The leaders of Congress, led by Rahul Gandhi, who were marching to the Rashtrapati Bhavan were stopped by police before a small delegation was allowed to enter the presidential palace to present President Ram Nath Kovind with a memorandum asking for his intervention to repeal the farm laws to thousands of farmers have been protesting near Delhi for almost a month. Mr. Gandhi’s sister, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, and several other guides were taken into custody by police and sent away after being stopped on a bus. They are expected to be published shortly.

The appeal to the president has two crore signatures calling for his intervention to repeal the three controversial laws.

“The farmers will not go. The prime minister needs to know,” said Gandhi after meeting the president.

“Any opposition to this government is classified as terrorist. We are taking this march to express our support for the farmers,” said Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, who was sitting on the street.

Shortly afterwards, Ms. Gandhi-Vadra struck again in the middle and called the government a “sinner”. “Sometimes they say that we are so weak that we don’t qualify as an opposition, and sometimes they say that we are so powerful that we let farmers store lakhs on the border (from Delhi) for a month. They should decide what we are first, “she told reporters from the green DTC bus on which she and other leaders were being held.

“It’s a sin to use the kind of name they used to refer to farmers. If the government calls them anti-nationalists, the government is a sinner,” she said.

Before starting the march from Vijay Chowk in central Delhi, Mr. Gandhi met with senior congressional leaders at the party center, where the leaders made speeches on the farm laws.


“Only the leaders who have permission are allowed (to go to Rashtrapati Bhavan),” said Pragya policeman.

Opposition parties that tried to block the farm bills in parliament had previously asked the president not to sign the bills. The bills, they said, were passed in an undemocratic manner in the Rajya Sabha. However, the president had approved all three bills. Rahul Gandhi was part of the opposition meeting with President Kovind on December 9th.

Thousands of farmers defying water cannons, tear gas and police barricades began protesting farm laws last month to eliminate middlemen and allow them to sell produce anywhere in the country. Farmers say the laws will strip them of government minimum prices and leave them to businesses.

The government has urged farmers to hold further talks to end the deadlock. Farmers’ groups on Wednesday said they were ready to attend the government talks but are waiting for the government to have open talks and come up with specific proposals that are acceptable.

The protests have blocked roads connecting the state capital with the neighboring states of Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, affecting public transport and the supply of fruit and vegetables.