Mandsaur: Rahul Gandhi was detained today before he could enter Madhya Pradesh for a visit to Mandsaur, the place where farmers’ violence has increased after 5 were killed in Police firing on Tuesday. Rahul, who is known for such ‘dramatic action’ suddenly swapped his car for a bike, defying police barricades, and finally set out on foot before he was stopped and taken to a makeshift jail.
This morning, Gandhi began his action-packed journey by flying to Rajasthan’s Udaipur and then driving in a convoy towards Mandsaur, around 180 km away.
When his car was stopped near the border, the Congress leader was seen jumping on to a bike in the crush of security personnel, Congress workers, journalists and policemen.
Around 3 km from the border, the Congress leaders were stopped again. That is where Mr Gandhi got off the bike and started a brisk walk, ring-fenced by the elite Special Protection Group, with Congress workers shouting slogans. He was seen in visuals arguing heatedly with policemen.
M.P. police had said this morning they would not allow Gandhi and other Congress leaders to enter Mandsaur, where a round-the-clock curfew is in force after violence. At Neemuch near the border, around 700 policemen were tasked with ensuring politicians didn’t enter.
For over a week, a large group of farmers have been protesting in Mandsaur, demanding better prices for their crop and loan waivers.
Tension peaked on Tuesday as protesters threw rocks and vandalized vehicles, after which the police allegedly opened fire at a crowd. Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Bhupendra Singh confirmed today the death of five farmers in the clashes was because of police firing, which he had vehemently denied earlier.
“I just want to meet the farmers. If your ideology is not that of the RSS, you are not allowed to enter Madhya Pradesh,” Rahul Gandhi told reporters after his detention. “Modiji has waived loans of big corporate houses but he can give only goli (bullets) to farmers of the country,” the Congress leader said.
He was accompanied by Sharad Yadav, Senior leader of SP, Digvijay Singh and many local leaders.