Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi headed to his parliamentary constituency Amethi on Friday but preferred to maintain silence on the alleged derogatory remarks made by Uttar Pradesh Congress chief Rita Bahuguna Joshi against Chief Minister Mayawati and Joshi's subsequent arrest.
After arriving at the Amausi airport in Lucknow on Friday morning, Gandhi drove to Amethi in Sultanpur district without answering any queries by mediapersons on the issue.
"Rahul will hold meetings in all the five assembly constituencies in the Amethi parliamentary seat. The first meeting will take place in the Salon constituency," said party leader Akhilesh Pratap Singh.
According to party officials, Gandhi will also hear the grievances of voters in Amethi, about 150 km from Lucknow. Earlier this week, the town had seen violent protests over poor supply of electricity.
"He will also meet people who were baton-charged by the police during their July 13 demonstrations against the erratic power supply in the town," said a Congress leader.
Joshi was arrested after midnight on Wednesday in Ghaziabad for alleged derogatory remarks against Chief Minister Mayawati at a public meeting in Moradabad. She was charged under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989. Just about the same time, her house in Lucknow was attacked and torched by a mob.
At a meeting in Moradabad on Wednesday, Joshi had mocked at the state director general of police flying down to Dalit rape victims in recent days and spending huge amounts to distribute compensation of Rs 25,000 to Rs 75,000 to each of them.
She reportedly told the women that they should not only throw the compensation money back at the government's face, but if this was how the rape victims were going to get justice, "tell her (Mayawati) we would give Rs.1 crore" if she faced the same trauma.
Congress chief Sonia Gandhi was learnt to have been angry with Joshi for having made such a remark. In a meeting with Congress MPs from Uttar Pradesh in New Delhi on Thursday, she described the remark as "completely unacceptable".