Twenty-three Bharaitya Janata Party (BJP) legislators and some party leaders were detained after they tried to force open the gates of chief minister Harish Rawat’s residence demanding that the state government withdraw the alleged false cases against them.
Some of the legislators were also injured in an encounter with the police who were removing the mob trying to break open the gates.
The enraged BJP legislators were demanding that the police allow them to see the chief minister and submit to him their charter of demands. But Rawat had left home early on a tour.
The injured included BJP’s leader of Opposition in the assembly Ajay Bhatt, party’s state president Tirath Singh Rawat and Haridwar legislator Madan Kaushik. BJP legislator Raj Kumar Thukral was rushed to the hospital after he complained of breathing trouble.
The BJP demanded a high-level inquiry into the alleged false cases against its MLAs, including Gadarpur legislator Arvind Pandey, who is in jail on charges of beating up a tehsildar magistrate.
Pandey has also a case pending against him in the court under various provisions of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe Act.
State BJP president alleged that the Rawat government forced the authorities to file cases against the legislator under stringent laws.
“Like that, this (Rawat) government had also slapped false cases against two of our other legislators,” Tirath Singh said, identifying them as Rajkumar Thukral and Puran Singh Fartiyal.
The BJP leaders began their march to the chief minster’s Bijapur guest house residence from the party headquarters and had plans to demonstrate at the police barricade at Hathibarkhala, on way to the chief minister’s residence.
But, instead of going to Hathibarkhala, they took a detour and reached the CM’s residence where they sat on a dharna outside its closed gates.
The leader of Opposition in the assembly accused Rawat of protecting the corrupt officials.
“A glaring example of that is the way the chief minister went out of his way to protect his former secretary Mohd Shahid who was caught on camera negotiating a deal with a liquor mafia,” he said.
The chief minister also refused to concede to the opposition party’s demand for a CBI probe into a relief scam involving officials who were engaged in relief works post the 2013 floods, Bhatt said.
CM’s media in-charge Surendra Kumar reached the protest site and tried to pacify the irate BJP legislators but to no effect.
In a statement, Kumar dubbed the BJP as a party that provides protection to the criminal mafia.
Congress stages sit-in against Centre’s apathy
When the opposition BJP leaders were protesting against the Uttarakhand government in front of chief minister’s house on Monday, the ruling Congress staged a demonstration against the alleged indifference of the Centre towards the state at Gandhi Park.
The Congress leaders shouted slogans against the Centre, alleging that the attempts to subvert the interests of the hill state were ill-intended aimed at downgrading the image of the state government.
Uttarakhand Congress president Upadhaya accused the Centre of trying to create financial crisis in the state by making cuts in the budget in the present financial year.
Upadhaya said the BJP MPs had failed to fulfil the promises made during the 2014 general elections.
“They had promised to bring prices under control within 100 days of coming to power. However, the prices of essential commodities are for everyone to see. Today people of Uttarakhand are feeling betrayed by the BJP as their MPs also failed to raise the state issues in Parliament,” said Upadhaya.
He threatened to launch a massive campaign against the BJP-led Central if Uttarakhand’s interests were compromised by it.
Congress workers present at the protest were from party’s women wing, Seva Dal and Dehradun city Congress unit.