Priyanka Gandhi meets SP worker who was ‘molested’: Women will defeat govt

During her visit to Lakhimpur Kheri district, she met a Samajwadi Party worker, who was allegedly molested while filing her nomination papers for the local polls and questioned the “silence of the administration”.

Hitting out at the state government over violence in the recently held panchayat elections for block chiefs, Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Saturday said women “will defeat the government, which encourages people to commit atrocities against them”.

During her visit to Lakhimpur Kheri district, she met a Samajwadi Party worker, who was allegedly molested while filing her nomination papers for the local polls and questioned the “silence of the administration”. She said she would write to the State Election Commission to seek justice for “all my sisters who were victims of violence by the BJP in the panchayat elections”.

“The BJP goons who compromise democracy should listen to me carefully. Women will become village heads, block heads, MLAs, MPs, chief ministers and prime ministers, and will defeat the government, which encourages people to commit atrocities against them,” Priyanka tweeted after meeting the SP worker. The Congress leader is on a three-day visit to the state.

At Lakhimpur Kheri, Priyanka told media persons that the SP worker’s constitutional rights were snatched away and suggested that the election should have been cancelled or postponed.

“This was her constitutional right to file her nomination papers and contest elections. But that right was snatched away from her. She had gone to file her nomination. Can you imagine that she was surrounded and beaten up… Her saree was pulled and her clothes were torn. Her family members, including her little child, were with her. You can imagine what she went through, and no one stopped this. The circle officer who tried to save her was suspended.

Other officers who stood by faced no action. The administration is silent,” she said.

“And when even a small incident happens, elections are cancelled. Elections are done again. Then, why wasn’t this election cancelled. Does she not have the right to contest the election? Can an election be won by someone who brings 10 goons and beat up someone? Is this our democracy?”

After the alleged molestation of two women associated with the SP came to light, Uttar Pradesh Police had suspended six personnel, including a circle officer and a station house officer. Brij Kishore and Yash Verma, said to be associated with the BJP, were arrested.

Priyanka held meetings with Congress’s former MPs, MLAs, presidents of frontal organisations and block presidents of Raebareli and Amethi.

Addressing party workers in Lucknow, she said, “During the pandemic it was only the Congress party which helped people on the ground.”

Responding to Priyanka’s attack, Cabinet Minister and government spokesperson Sidharth Nath Singh said “those who nurture criminals like Mukhtar Ansari” were talking about women’s security.

“Mukhtar, who is responsible for making dozens of women widows and children orphans, is a hero for the Congress, and the party nurtures such criminals. The Congress government and Priyanka have made every effort to save Mukhtar Ansari. But owing to sustained efforts of the Yogi government, such criminals are now behind the bars,” he said.

Slamming the Congress, Singh said the Congress was trying to “politicise the issue of the SP candidate and unnecessarily targeting the law and order situation in UP”.

Singh said Priyanka “has no right to talk about women’s safety as their party is completely responsible for nurturing hard-core criminals in the state”.

The spokesperson defended the state government saying women had received the utmost protection and respect under the Adityanath government.

“I advise Priyanka to refrain from her gimmicks as the Congress is not going to be revived in UP,” said Singh.

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