Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra called on Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar on Wednesday at a Meerut hospital where the Dalit leader was recuperating after taking ill in detention for alleged violation of the model code of conduct a day earlier.
After enquiring about Chandrashekhar’s health, Priyanka Gandhi hit out at the PM Narendra Modi-led government, terming it an “ahankari sarkar” (arrogant regime) that was “out to crush” a young leader without hearing out his concerns.
“I like his [Chandrashekhar’s] josh (enthusiasm) and sangharsh (struggle) for his people. Therefore, I came here to enquire about his health. This young man has been requesting the government to hear his concerns for his people, but the ahankari sarkar wants to crush him,” Priyanka, who was accompanied by party’s west UP general secretary Jyotiraditya Scindia and state party chief Raj Babbar, said.
Late on Wednesday, BJP west UP president Ashwani Tyagi hit back at the Congress. “Those who are terming BJP government as ahankari sarkar should look at themselves. Their party imposed Emergency in the country and killed democracy. They have no right to show pseudo sympathy to people.”
During the hospital visit, Priyanka Gandhi swatted a query on whether Chandrashekhar would join the Congress. “I came to know that he is ill, so I came here to see him. I will not speak about politics,” she said.
The Bhim Army chief had taken ill on Tuesday after he was detained in Deoband en route to Delhi to convene a ‘Bahujan Hunkar’ rally on Friday. The model code violation was allegedly over the number of vehicles in the procession he was leading.
On Wednesday, Chandrashekhar insisted that no political meaning should be read into his brief interaction with Priyanka Gandhi. “She came to enquire about my health as a humane gesture. I am not a political man with whom she could discuss politics,” he said.
He quoted her as saying that the “government was committing excesses on me and my people.”
Asked if he would join the Congress, he said, “I have been fighting for the Bahujan Samaj and will keep fighting till my death. I will not join any political party.” But he added, “…all should come together to defeat Modi.”