Rahul Gandhi, asked about Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s controversial arrest in Uttar Pradesh on Monday on her way to Lakhimpur Kheri, said he was “not bothered” by the alleged manhandling of his sister as they both are “trained” to face such attacks.
“Whether it is Priyanka or me – we are not bothered by manhandling. You can hit us, attack us…It is our training from years ago…that our family gives us,” said Rahul Gandhi.
The Congress leader spoke to the media before heading to Lucknow, from where he plans to drive around 100 km to Lakhimpur Kheri, where eight people, including four farmers, were killed in violence during a protest on Sunday.
The UP administration has banned several opposition politicians from visiting Lakhimpur Kheri to meet with the families of the dead farmers, citing a law and order problem and rules against four or more people gathering there.
Rahul Gandhi has also been denied permission. “We are planning to go to the site with two Chief Ministers. We are only three persons.”
Alleging a “systematic attack on farmers”, Mr Gandhi also taunted Prime Minister Narendra Modi for visiting Lucknow but not going to Lakhimpur Kheri.
In the early hours of Monday, Congress leaders Priyanka Gandhi and Deepinder Hooda were stopped at Sitapur near Lakhimpur Kheri and surrounded by police personnel.
Priyanka Gandhi was seen in a huge confrontation with the police as she demanded to see a warrant for her arrest. A video showed her lashing out at the cops as Mr Hooda was physically pushed. “Try touching me…,” she was heard saying. “If you will put me in that car I will charge you with kidnapping. And the charge will not be against the police but you,” she told the police.
She has been detained at a state guest house in Sitapur since then.
Rahul Gandhi tweeted after her arrest: “Priyanka, I know you won’t back away – they are stunned by your courage. In this non-violent fight for justice, we will make the country’s Annadata win.”