As Congress president Sonia Gandhi appeared before the Enforcement Directorate (ED), party MPs and Congress Working Committee (CWC) members "courted mass arrest" outside the AICC headquarters here on Thursday in a show of collective solidarity with her.
Gandhi appeared before the ED here for questioning in a money-laundering probe linked to the National Herald-Associated Journals Limited case.
The 75-year-old Congress leader arrived at the federal probe agency's headquarters located at Vidyut Lane flanking A P J Abdul Kalam Road in central Delhi a little after noon, escorted by her 'Z+' category Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) security cover.
"All Congress MPs and CWC members have courted mass arrest outside our party HQs in a show of collective solidarity with Congress President Smt. Sonia Gandhi, a target of Vishguru's political vendetta," party general secretary Jairam Ramesh said in a tweet.
शांति पूर्ण सत्याग्रह भी इस देश में प्रतिबंधित। @INCIndia MPs को गिरफ़्तार कर बस में किसी पुलिस थाना ले जा रहे है। @INCIndia @Jairam_Ramesh @SupriyaShrinate @priyankagandhi @RahulGandhi @PChidambaram_IN @LoPIndia pic.twitter.com/7EaJSO9VPQ— Vivek Tankha (@VTankha) July 21, 2022
"We are being taken away to a police station in Old Delhi evidently," he added. Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge said the Congress has always been at the forefront of fighting against "tyranny" and Sonia Gandhi has stood strong against innumerable odds.
"The autocratic Modi government will never be able to intimidate her," he said in a tweet.
Congress's Rajya Sabha member Vivek Tankha said even a "peaceful satyagraha" is banned in this country.
"@INCIndia MPs are being arrested and taken to a police station in a bus," he said in a tweet and posted a picture of Congress leaders, including himself, sitting in a bus.
Ahead of Sonia Gandhi's questioning by the ED, the party alleged that the Delhi Police is preventing the media from entering the AICC headquarters and said this "high-handedness" reflects the mindset of the Narendra Modi government.
"From the early hours of this morning the Delhi Police -- obviously taking orders from the Union Home Minister -- is preventing the media from entering the Congress party headquarters," Ramesh said in another tweet.
"This high-handedness was only to be expected and reflects the mindset of the Modi Sarkar," he added.
Ramesh had said on Wednesday that the Congress will stage demonstrations across the country in "a most telling manner" against what he described as political vendetta.
When Rahul Gandhi was questioned by the ED, the police had made elaborate arrangements. A large number of Congress leaders were detained, taken to far-away locations and released only at midnight.
Congress MPs had raised strong objections and complained to the president, vice president and Lok Sabha speaker against the police's "high-handedness".
(with inputs from PTI)