Priyanka Gandhi's Maun Vrat For Minister's Removal Over Farmers' Killing

Both the minister and his son denied being at the spot. But the police said Ashish Mishra had been evasive in his replies and could not explain gaps in his alibi.

Priyanka Gandhi sat on a three-hour protest in Lucknow.

New Delhi:

Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and other Congress leaders observed a "maun vrat" or silent protest today to demand the sacking of Union Minister Ajay Mishra, whose son Ashish Mishra has been arrested over allegations of running over farmers in Uttar Pradesh's Lakhimpur Kheri.

Days after her dramatic showdown with the UP government and pre-dawn arrest on her way to Lakhimpur Kheri, Priyanka Gandhi sat on a three-hour protest in Lucknow.

Ajay Mishra, the Union Minister of State for Home, met with Home Minister Amit Shah last week but sources later ruled out his resignation.

But on Saturday, after a rap from the Supreme Court, the UP police questioned and later arrested the minister's son, who is accused of running over a group of protesting farmers on October 3. Eight people, including four farmers, were killed in the violence.

Both the minister and his son denied being at the spot. But the police said Ashish Mishra had been evasive in his replies and could not explain gaps in his alibi.

A Congress spokesperson said the party is demanding that Ajay Mishra, a powerful politician in Uttar Pradesh, be removed for the sake of a free and fair investigation in the case.

UP Minister Siddharth Nath Singh said the law would take its course and would not be influenced by any kind of pressure.

If Congress leaders want to sit on a ''maun vrat'' or hold protests, it is their democratic right, the minister remarked, and went on to target one of the party's top leaders, Manmohan Singh.

The two-time former Prime Minister had been on a ''maun vrat'' for 10 years, Mr Singh jibed.

On Sunday, addressing a rally in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's constituency Varanasi, Priyanka Gandhi had said, "Congress workers do not fear anyone even if you throw them in jails or beat them up. We will continue to fight until the Union minister resigns. Our party has fought for the country's Independence. No one can silence us."

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