Kerala CPM secretary M.V. Govindan on Saturday said his party would take to the streets against the disqualification of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi as an MP, as the Left parties decried the “undemocratic” action.
“We will take to the streets (in support of Rahul),” Govindan told reporters, alluding to the widespread protests in which the CPM’s youth arm Democratic Youth Federation of India has already been taking part.
He did not give any schedule of the possible protests by the CPM, whose leaders including chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan have spoken strongly against the disqualification.
“The Union government is hunting down Opposition leaders by misusing official machinery,” Govindan alleged.
While he did not see the possibility of an immediate bypoll in the Wayanad Lok Sabha constituency that Rahul held, Govindan said the CPM-led Left Democratic Front would contest in the event of an election to fill the vacancy.
State CPI secretary Kanam Rajendran also came out in support of Rahul and said his party would be part of the protests against the Congress leader’s “undemocratic” disqualification.
“This is a national issue and the Opposition parties have taken a unified stand. There are widespread protests against this undemocratic act and the CPI will also be part of it,” he told reporters on Saturday.
The DYFI marched in state capital Thiruvananthapuram late on Friday, protesting the disqualification of Rahul and the arrests of over 30 MPs, including those from the Congress, in Delhi when they took out a procession from Parliament House alleging democracy was in danger and seeking a joint parliamentary committee probe into the allegations against the Adani group.
Protests continued across Kerala, especially Wayanad where more than 200 Congress workers and leaders courted arrest after blocking NH766 on Saturday.
The blockade that began around 10.30am with more than a thousand Congress workers and common people slowly led to a long tailback of motor vehicles. The protesters set fire to an effigy of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“The police used force to remove us from the spot in Kalpetta and then took more than 200 of us to the local police station,” state Congress general secretary K.K. Abraham, who was among those arrested, told The Telegraph.
“We did not force any commercial outlets to shut down. We are planning night marches and have tentatively scheduled a statewide shutdown on April 3,” Abraham said.
Congress workers had on Friday protested across Kerala, including several places in Wayanad where they raised slogans against Modi and the BJP. “We will continue this mode of protest for which even ordinary people are joining us as they are very angry with the BJP and its Union government for targeting Opposition leaders,” Abraham added.
A Youth Congress march to the main post office in Pathanamthitta, some 350km south of Wayanad, turned violent on Saturday. The police forcibly removed the Youth Congress workers who had barged into the post office and booked several of them.