The feud between the ruling BJP and opposition Congress has intensified in Uttrakhand a day after Congress state president Pritam Singh and about 150 other party workers were booked for alleged violation of Covid-19 norms on Tuesday in Uttarkashi district.
Citing the incident, Congress has accused BJP-led government of targeting its leaders in a bid to suppress their voice while the BJP has justified the action claiming Congress leaders’ political events held in public are hampering the fight against the pandemic.
Pritam Singh had held a rally and a political event in Uttarkashi on Monday to protest against the rising fuel prices. On Tuesday, he along with about 150 other party members was booked for violating Covid-19 norms by allegedly holding the events without prior permission. This was the second case against him after he was booked in Dehradun on June 25 for the same offense in a similar case.
Apart from Singh, another senior leader and former chief minister Harish Rawat was also booked for alleged violation of Covid-19 norms for holding a bullock cart rally in protest of the rising fuel prices in Dehradun on June 29.
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“What the BJP government is doing is nothing but vindictive action against our leaders. They are afraid of our aggressive posture against the BJP governments at the Centre and in the state over relevant public issues like rising fuel prices and bad handling of the pandemic,” said Suryakant Dhasmana, party state vice-president, who, too, was booked along with Singh on June 25.
He termed the FIR to be a “tactic to suppress the voice of opposition.”
“These are just dictatorial moves by the BJP, both in Centre and all other states where they are in the government. They don’t want the opposition to exist and raise their voice. In Uttarakhand, what they are doing with our leaders is part of that vindictive plan only,” said Dhasmana.
The Congress vice-president also dared the government to “register as many cases as they want against the Congress leaders.”
“Let them register as many false cases as they want. We will also see. But we want to tell them that we won’t stop raising our voices for the public and continue to raise their issues,” he said.
Dhasamana also alleged that action against Congress leaders citing Covid-19 norms was discriminatory.
“All the cases for violating Covid-19 norms are against our leaders only. If they are so worried about the Covid-19 norms, then why didn’t they take any action against BJP state president Bansidhar Bhagat, who got a temple opened in Haridwar and held prayers there? Was it not a violation of the Covid-19 norms?,” said Dhasmana adding, “We don’t have any demand from the government but have a clear message that we will not stop our protests.”
The BJP however, justified the action saying Congress’ intention behind holding public events was not about opposing the government policies but about “hampering the fight against the pandemic.”
“The actions taken against their party president Singh and former CM Rawat are absolutely justifiable. Their protests and rallies are helping in increasing the spread of Covid-19 and not curbing it,” said Devendra Bhasin, BJP state vice-president.
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Bhasin said, “As far as the allegation of suppressing the opposition is concerned, that’s in the DNA of the Congress and not the BJP. What they did during the emergency everybody knows. There is no democracy inside their own party only.”
The ruling party leader also dismissed the allegations of discriminatory action against Congress leaders and said, “Their demand to book our party state president stands no ground because he worshipped in a Haridwar temple with only three others in attendance while maintaining necessary social distancing.”