Congress leaders Jairam Ramesh, Ajay Maken and Abhishek Singhvi at a press meet. Photo: ANI
New Delhi:The Congress on Wednesday alleged the party was "under siege" by the government which, it said, surrounded its headquarters and the residences of party chief Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi as if they were "terrorists".
Addressing a hurriedly-convened press conference at the party office in the evening after roads leading to its headquarters were barricaded and police deployed nearby, Congress leaders Jairam Ramesh, Ajay Maken and Abhishek Singhvi said it will not be intimidated by this kind of "cheap and petty politics" and will continue to raise people's issues.
This came soon after the ED temporarily sealed the premises of Young Indian (YI) in the Congress-owned National Herald office in Delhi.
The police said it was a preventive measure to avoid any untoward situation as there was information some protesters might gather at the Congress office in Akbar Road. The barricades were later removed.
The Congress said the sole objective of this "siege mentality" of the "fearful" Narendra Modi regime is humiliation, insult and intimidation at one level and diversion, digression and sensationalism at another level.
"Today you have created a siege mentality, a climate of fear. The entire country watches as investigative agencies are deployed mindlessly against the leadership of India's oldest political party.
"You are treating this institution, this party, these leaders as terrorists. It is the worst form of petty politics and on the contrary, you blame us," Singhvi told reporters, alleging that platoons of policemen have been deployed all over the Congress offices and residences of its leaders.
He said with the police deployed near the party headquarters and around the residences of Sonia and Rahul Gandhi, what is being witnessed is an "an open ended investigation" on events that took place over 10 years ago.
"What we are seeing today is a siege mentality in the heart of the national capital," he said, adding that the world is watching this unfortunate situation in India, which is a proud democracy of the world.
"The only sole object of this exercise is humiliation, insult and intimidation at one level and diversion, digression and sensationalism at another level. They do not want the issues of price rise, unemployment and GST to be raised in the media," Singhvi said, adding that fear is not there in the dictionary of the Congress and its leadership.
"We will never relent whatever be the cost. We will never obligate our responsibility as a responsible opposition. We believe that these are the actions of a frustrated political regime. We believe that these are the actions of a regime which is losing its balance and is frustrated. You can try and suppress as much as you like, you will receive a resilience and reaction which is completely democratic. We will continue to expose you," he alleged.
He asked whether Sonia or Rahul Gandhi have ever evaded anything and alleged that this does not satisfy their lust for sensationalism.
He said all law has been thrown to the winds and all sense of decency, democratic values and all sense of balance also has been thrown to the winds. "This is reprehensible and we cannot find stronger words to condemn this," he said, noting that their voices will not be silenced or scared by cheap politics.
Maken said the AICC had issued a circular that on August 5, the party would organise a nationwide protest on price rise, unemployment and GST hike, with party leaders marching to Rashtrapati Bhavan and workers gheraoing the prime minister's residence.
However, the Delhi Police DCP sent a letter to the Congress saying the party cannot hold any protest on August 5.
"Everything done by the central government is to intimidate us and change the narrative," he claimed.
"We want to tell the government, you may try and suppress us but the Congress party will not back off and will continue to raise issues of price rise, GST and unemployment," he said.
Ramesh said this is politics of vendetta and this has never happened in the past and is being witnessed for the first time.
"This is vinash-kaal, vipreet buddhi," he said, adding that we have raised our voice inside and outside Parliament on issues of price rise, unemployment and GST hike and will continue to do so.
"Those who believe in the politics of revenge are fearful. Those who intimidate others are themselves full of fear," he alleged.
"It is very clear that the prime minister believes in the politics of fear and intimidation. This is not democratic. We will continue to protest against the Modi government's economic policies. We have earlier protested against the divisive policies of this government," he said.
Ramesh earlier shared a video showing heavy police presence outside AICC office and the road sealed for traffic.
"Delhi Police blocking the road to AICC Headquarters has become a norm rather than an exception! Why have they just done so is mysterious...," Ramesh tweeted.
"The Congress is under siege. Delhi police has surrounded our HQs, and homes of INC President and ex-President. This is the worst form of vendetta politics. We will not submit! We will not be silenced! We will continue to raise our voice against injustices and failures of Modi Sarkar!," he said in another tweet.
Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot claimed the action was to convert 10 Janpath, the Congress headquarters and Sonia Gandhi's residence into a police cantonment and termed this an undeclared emergency.