The Delhi Police has done something rare – it has brought the Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party closer.
Delhiites routinely see the AAP government gunning for the city’s law enforcement agency, but they never witnessed it joining forces with the Congress over the same issue. That changed on Wednesday, when the police’s handling of the political agitation over retired soldier Ram Kishan Grewal’s suicide brought the two parties on the same platform against a common target.
Although Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi primarily lashed out at Narendra Modi — their common rival — they also targeted the Delhi Police after they were detained while attempting to meet the deceased soldier’s family.
The Congress’ fury was palpable. Former home minister P Chidambaram tweeted, “The home minister should remove the police commissioner. If he is powerless to do so, he should tender his resignation.”
The Delhi Police is controlled by the Union home ministry.
Sources said Rahul Gandhi was furious over being detained at a police station on Wednesday. Although Gandhi has courted arrests and confronted policemen at previous political rallies, it was the Delhi Police’s “highhandedness” and “detention without cause” that enraged him and the Congress party.
For Kejriwal, this came as yet another opportunity to hit out at the Delhi Police. As the Delhi chief minister, he had infamously sat on dharna near Parliament complex in 2014 to demand the suspension of three policemen. The standoff saw him spending the night under the open sky at the protest site.
“Police beat up family members of Ram Kishanji. BJP spokies hurling abuses at deceased subhedar. Army morale at all-time low,” Kejriwal tweeted on Thursday.
Gandhi also raked up the issue of police misbehaving with Grewal’s family members. “The way his family members were dragged around and abused in the police station was improper. This affects the morale of our soldiers posted at the border,” Gandhi said, echoing similar concerns.
However, while the Congress and the AAP did find a common target over this issue, Congress insiders said the two can never actually join hands because of their inherent differences.