The Congress on Wednesday came down heavily on the BJP government in Uttar Pradesh, accusing Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath of protecting former Union minister Chinmayanand who has been accused of rape by a law student.
Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra accused the BJP government of having scored a zero in stopping crime against women in the state and accused it of protecting criminals and intimidating complainants.
The attack came after the law student who accused BJP leader Chinmayanand of rape was arrested on charges of extortion and sent to 14-day judicial custody. Hours later, her bail plea was rejected by the court.
The 23-year-old woman was arrested around 9.15 am from her home by a special investigation team (SIT) amid large police deployment.
"Even if I have to say this every day, I will keep saying. The BJP government in Uttar Pradesh is proving to be a 'Zero' in stopping crime against women. UP BJP tops in suppressing the statistics on crimes against women. In saving criminals and in intimidating complainants," Priyanka said in a tweet in Hindi.
She also highlighted a report about a girl being gang-raped at gunpoint in Rampur and her video made by criminals.
Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi took a swipe at the BJP after the bail plea of the girl, who accused Chinmayanand of rape, was rejected and was sent to jail, saying one must be beware of those who try and make the temple of justice a "circus".
"Girl accusing Swami Chinmayanand sent to 14-day judicial custody. Her bail application rejected as non-maintainable. If hearing on the bail application is taken up again, it'll be done at 1 pm. All trust temple of justice but we must beware of those who try and make it a circus?" Singhvi said on Twitter.
Another Congress spokesperson, Rajiv Tyagi, told a press conference that a new political cult is emerging in Uttar Pradesh where criminals are protected and they turn fearless after getting protection from the government.
"The manner in which a volcano of criminals are erupting, especially with the rise of crimes against women, it is a matter of deep concern for the society and the country. The biggest concern is that of the way the BJP government is protecting criminals and the Yogi government in UP is providing them shelter," Tyagi told reporters.
"This means that criminals commit crime and seek shelter in with the government, after which criminals turn fearless. The way criminals are getting a fear-free atmosphere, it has become clear that Chinmayanand is the criminal and Adityananth has become his protector.
"What is the collusion between Chinmayanand and UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath, as he is providing full protection to him," Tyagi asked, alleging that the girl making rape charges against him is in jail while Chinmayanand is lying down in an air-conditioned room.
Tyagi also raised a set of five questions to the BJP, asking why Chinmayanand was being protected and given shelter by the UP government.
"What is the reason for his alleged collusion between Chinmayanand and Adityanath," he asked.
Earlier in the day, UP police said they have sufficient evidence that Rs 5-crore extortion money was demanded from Chinmayanand by the girl.
The BJP, meanwhile, disowned the 72-year-old politician, saying he is not a party member. But it did not specify when he stopped being a BJP member.