Priyanka Gandhi arrested in UP
The incident also shows that in the context of an internal conflict within a village, Priyanka has chosen to openly associate with the underprivileged victims.
Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi was arrested on Friday in eastern Uttar Pradesh while she was on her way to visit the families of tribals gunned down two days back allegedly by a village head and his henchmen over a “land dispute”.
Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka’s brother, tweeted soon afterwards: “The illegal arrest of Priyanka in Sonbhadra, UP, is disturbing. This arbitrary application of power, to prevent her from meeting families of 10 Adivasi farmers brutally gunned down for refusing to vacate their land, reveals the BJP government’s increasing insecurity in UP.”
He also shared a video in which Priyanka is seen asking the police to show her a written document with the charges against her or which says that she needs to be detained. A Congress MLA is also seen arguing with the policeman, asking how they could stop Priyanka and her associates.
The illegal arrest of Priyanka in Sonbhadra, UP, is disturbing. This arbitrary application of power, to prevent her from meeting families of the 10 Adivasi farmers brutally gunned down for refusing to vacate their own land, reveals the BJP Govt’s increasing insecurity in UP. pic.twitter.com/D1rty8KJVq— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) July 19, 2019
The gunning down of the villagers was reported from Murtiya village, which falls under the Ghorawal police station. According to the police, nine people, including three women, were shot dead by a village head and his men.
UP police had told the media that the killings took place after headman Yagya Dutt Bhurtia came to take possession of 90 bighas of land he had bought two years ago. Local residents protested and the headman and his men opened fire.
The detention of Priyanka is significant in that the police have acted against a member of the influential Nehru-Gandhi family. It also shows the continuing political role from Priyanka Gandhi, who is being touted by some as a replacement for her brother as party president, though he has said that someone from outside the family should be party chief.
The incident also shows that in the context of an internal conflict within a village, Priyanka has chosen to openly associate with the underprivileged victims. Tribals have a negligible population in UP and the act may not make sense in terms of any 'identity politics' angle. However, it sends the signal that the Congress wants to pitch itself as a practitioner of a bottom-up, welfarist politics in its attempt to reverse its dwindling political fortunes in a state it ruled decades back.