Bharatiya Janata Party President Amit Shah on Tuesday told the Congress to “stop intimidating youth”, a day after reports of police action against some protestors at a Rahul Gandhi event in Bengaluru. The BJP has claimed some people were arrested briefly, but the police have denied this.
Gandhi, the Congress president, was in the Karnataka capital on Monday, where he attended an event at Manyata Tech Park to address entrepreneurs. Several people chanted pro-Modi slogans outside the venue and displayed placards asking Gandhi to leave, PTI reported.
The protestors were removed by police, but the BJP claimed a “few” of them were arrested. The BJP, which is in the Opposition in Karnataka, claimed that the protestors were “techies”. The party also claimed that workers of the Congress had attacked them.
“This is the real face of democracy in a Congress-JD(S)-ruled state,” the BJP’s Karnataka unit tweeted, along with a video clip of the incident. “It’s total dictatorship where freedom of choice and expression of citizens is suppressed.”
Karnataka is ruled by a coalition between the Congress and the Janata Dal (Secular).
Karnataka BJP MLA Arvind Limbavali tweeted that all those arrested had been released after the party’s legal team had “done the needful”.
However, Seemanth Kumar Singh, the additional commissioner of police for Bengaluru City (East), said on Twitter that no one had been arrested and “people were dispersed without using force”. “One section of the crowd was too close to the SPG protectee [Rahul Gandhi], rest of the crowd was dispersed post the event,” he said.
On Tuesday morning, Shah tweeted: “Hugs for ‘tukde tukde’ gang and arrest of peaceful youth raising pro-Modi slogans? Where are the champions of ‘Free Speech’?”
Referring to Gandhi as the “yuvraj [crown prince] of CONgress”, Shah said he “must know that the world moves in the direction that the youth choose”. “Stop intimidating youth of India, which has rejected your brand of politics,” Shah wrote.
Around 1.5 lakh employees work in over 60 companies with offices at the Manyata Tech Park in Bengaluru, according to The New Indian Express. Gandhi met around 500 employees who had been selected for the purpose.
Police blamed people with vested interest for the protests, India Today reported.
Voting to elect the 17th Lok Sabha will take place in seven phases between April 11 and May 19, and the votes will be counted on May 23. The dates of voting in Karnataka are April 18 and April 23.