India’s Congress leaders released after courting arrest during protest march

NEW DELHI: India’s opposition Congress party president Sonia Gandhi, party vice-president Rahul Gandhi and former prime minister Manmohan Singh were briefly arrested at the Parliament Street police station during their ‘Save Democracy’ march. They were later released.


The opposition party is agitating against what it calls the ‘anti-democratic’ policies of the Prime Minister Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Addressing the Save Democracy March, Congress leaders accused Modi of trampling on civil rights and of failing to alleviate the impact of a drought under which 400 million Indians are suffering.

“The Indian National Congress will never bow down before injustice,” said Sonia Gandhi, 69, who party strategists say may soon cede the Congress leadership to her son, Rahul.

Rahul said Modi had promised 20 million new jobs every year but in reality the Indian economy had created only 130,000.

“Modi talked about good days to come but today the country is reeling under drought and farmers are committing suicide,” said the 45-year-old heir apparent, whose father, grandmother and great-grandfather all served as prime minister.

“But Modi ji has nothing to say.”

Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) dismissed the rally as an attempt to divert attention from the helicopter scandal, known as “Choppergate”, that has dominated news headlines for weeks.

“The Congress is accusing Modi ji because we have proof to show that the Gandhi family was involved in series of scams,” Shrikant Sharma, BJP national general secretary, told Reuters.