The Indian National Congress has launched a sharp attack on the Uttar Pradesh government in wake of the violence in Lakhimpur Khedi on Sunday in which eight lives were lost. And spearheading the party's attack is Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, who is set to be the party's face for the 2022 state polls.
Soon after news of the violence broke, Vadra reached the tension-razed Lakhimpur Khedi early Monday morning along with party leader Deepender Singh Hooda. The leaders, however, were allegedly not allowed to meet the victim's family and were eventually detained by UP Police. Videos of Priyanka's encounter with UP Police were soon shared on Twitter by the Congress party and leaders. In the video, Vadra can be seen arguing with the police and asking them to show them a "warrant" for detaining them.
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In the video, Congress leader Hooda was accompanying Vadra can also be seen alluding to a cop raising their hand on Vadra. It remains unclear if Vadra was hit by the cops.
A later video purportedly showed Vadra being taken away to Sitapur by UP Police. The video was shared with the caption "Mrs @priyankagandhi: I am being arrested from Hargaon and taken to Sitapur police line, please everyone reach out"
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Following her detention, other videos of Vadra have now surfaced. A clip of her sweeping the guest house in Sitapur where she had been reportedly detained by the police has been going viral on Twitter.
Priyanka Gandhi cleaning the Sitapur guest by all herself where she has been kept after being detained by UP police pic.twitter.com/N81VI2vfUL— Poll Update (@PollUpdateInd) October 4, 2021
Vadra has been receiving support from other Congress leaders such as Rahul Gandhi, who is also her brother, as well as others like Kamal Nath, Sashi Tharoor for her "bravery".
The video of @priyankagandhi & @deependerSHooda standing up to police intimidation stirs the blood. Citizens are entitled to know the grounds of their arrest & cannot be manhandled: cops, save that for those who drive over protesting farmers!#Lakhimpur_Kheri #à¤²à¤ÂÂà¥ÂÂà¤®à¤ªà¥ÂÂà¤°à¤ÂÂà¤¿à¤¸à¤¾à¤¨à¤¨à¤°à¤¸à¤ÂÂà¤¹à¤¾à¤° pic.twitter.com/jLTbqtrVk9— Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) October 4, 2021
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Be that as it may, the timing of Vadra's move could not have been more perfect.
At least eight persons were killed on Sunday including protesting farmers as violence erupted in Uttar Pradesh's Lakhimpur Khedi after a BJP convoy, allegedly carrying the son of minister Ajay Mishra's son Ashish Mishra, rammed into protesting farmers.
Among the eight dead, four were people in the cars, apparently a part of a convoy of BJP workers who had come to welcome Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya. They were allegedly thrashed to death. The four others were farmers, officials said.
Vadra is not the only one from Congress to have been detained on their way to Lakhimpur Khedi. Chhattisgarh CM Bhupesh Baghel who landed in Lucknow earlier in the day was detained by UP police at the airport. Baghel, who was recently appointed the AICC senior observer of the UP elections by the Congress party recently, is also in news amid speculation of a possible change of guard in Chattisgarh.
Incidentally, Vadra's detention came almost exactly a year since the last time she was in Uttar Pradesh for a similar political cause when she and her brother Rahul Gandhi had been detained by UP Police for trying to meet the family of the 19-year-old rape victim from Hathras.