In what can be termed as a delayed reaction, the Uttar Pradesh Congress has demanded a judicial probe into the Pratapgarh violence in which former Congress MP Pramod Tiwari and Congress Legislature Party leader Aradhana Mishra have been booked for assaulting Bharatiya Janata Party’s sitting Lok Sabha member Sangam Lal Gupta last Saturday.
A total of five FIRs have been registered against the Congress leaders after local BJP MP Sangam Lal Gupta was allegedly manhandled by a group of people during an official programme at Sangipur area of Pratapgarh last week. Gupta alleged that he had been attacked by the Congress workers at the behest of their leaders.
In the aftermath of the incident, the state government suspended Lalganj Circle Officer Jagmohan for dereliction of duty. Nine persons have also been arrested so far by the police.
In his complaint, the BJP MP alleged that the incident took place on Saturday when he and his party workers reached the 'Mela' site in Sangipur where former Congress MP Pramod Tiwari was sitting on the dais. He further alleged that Tewari’s supporters first hooted at him and his party workers and later turned violent and attacked them, assaulted them and even tore his kurta.
While the BJP leaders rushed in to support their party MP, the UP Congress maintained a studied silence for more than 30 hours before finally coming out to support their leaders charged with attempted murder and other sections of the Indian Penal Code. Even Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, who is in the habit of tweeting on every issue, did not condemn the accusations against her party leaders.
After facing flak in the party's WhatsApp groups for not standing in support of Pramod Tiwari and Aradhana Mishra for two day, UPCC president Ajay Kumar Lallu said in a statement on Monday that the Pratapgarh police acted in a partial manner and demanded a judicial inquiry into the incident.
He alleged that BJP leader Sangam Lal Gupta had masterminded the violence in order to gain sympathy after his party fared poorly in the panchayat elections. He also challenged Gupta to produce the video evidence of the incident to prove that he was attacked by Congress workers.
Talking to media persons in Lucknow on Monday afternoon, former Congress MP Pramod Tewari termed the allegations made against them in the FIR as “baseless” and claimed to have publicly put forward all the evidence in the form of video.
"I have given all the evidence in the form of video that nothing like this happened to him (Gupta) during the programme in Sangipur development block on Saturday. Now it is the responsibility of the MP to produce evidence in support of his charges," asserted Tewari.
About a video of the assault that went viral on social media soon after the incident, Tiwari said that the person seen in the video was someone else and had been identified by the clothes. He stressed that there should be a fair investigation into the incident of violence.
The Congress leader said that he did not file any complaint in the matter as nothing happened to him but there were some party workers who submitted their complaints but FIRs were not registered yet.
On her part, CLP leader Aradhana Mishra described the whole incident as shameful.
Responding to a question, she said that Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, scheduled to visit Lucknow on Monday, was aware of the developments and was in constant touch with state leaders.
Meanwhile, the Pratapgarh police have so far arrested nine persons in this case and several police teams conducted raids at the houses of Sangipur Congress block chief Ashok Singh Bablu and Rambodh Shukla, Ashok Dhar, Guddu but at the time of writing the report, the police could not arrest any accused in the MP's complaint.