"Not in Your Car": The Standoff And Drama Following Rahul Gandhi's Landing
In Lakhimpur Kheri: Earlier today, the Uttar Pradesh government authorised Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra (who has been arrested since Monday) and three other politicians to visiting Lakhimpur Kheri to speak with the relatives of farmers who were killed in the accident.
When asked to get into a police car for his visit to Lakhimpur Kheri, where eight people, including four farmers, were slain on Sunday, Rahul Gandhi refused to leave the Lucknow airport in a tense standoff with security forces this afternoon. After a brief altercation, the Congressman was allowed to drive away in his automobile.
"Who are you to arrange my transport? I want to leave in my car," the Congress leader told the Uttar Pradesh security men who ringed around him. "They are up to some mischief. Cent per cent," he said to reporters. Like Rahul Gandhi, Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Channi and Chhattisgarh Bhupesh Baghel stayed put in the airport, the police cordoned off the area with rope.
"Allow me to depart! They won't let me out of the airport. What kind of consent is this, exactly? Take a look at the state of the Uttar Pradesh government's 'licence.' I'm trying to get out of the airport, but they won't let me. Show this scene properly, yeh scene dikhao acchhi tarah "Turning to the media, Rahul Gandhi said. He announced, "I am prepared to be here for 10 days, 20 days, whatever it takes..."
Earlier today, the Uttar Pradesh government authorised Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra (who has been arrested since Monday) and three other politicians to visiting Lakhimpur Kheri to see the families of farmers killed in a protest over Union Minister Ajay Mishra's visit on Sunday.
Mr Mishra's van collided with a mob of protesters, crushing some of them, prompting Prime Minister Narendra Modi to fire him. Farmers claim that the minister's son, Ashish Mishra, was at the wheel of the car that ploughed over protesters. So far, the Uttar Pradesh administration and police have prevented opposition lawmakers from visiting Lakhimpur Kheri.
Priyanka Gandhi claims the state government has "illegally detained" her.
Rahul Gandhi had earlier today decried what he described as a "systematic onslaught on farmers," saying: "There used to be democracy (now) there is dictatorship in India. Politicians cannot go to Uttar Pradesh. We are being told since yesterday that we cannot go to Uttar Pradesh."