Rahul Gandhi was asked about Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s controversial arrest on Monday on her way to Lakhimpur Kerry, saying she was “not bothered” that she was allegedly handling her sister because they were both “trained” to counter such attacks.
“Priyanka or I – we are not bothered by the manipulation. You can attack us, you can attack us … This is training from many years ago … Our family gives us,” said Rahul Gandhi.
The Congress leader spoke to reporters before leaving for Lucknow, where he plans to travel 100 km to Lakhimpur Kerry, where eight people, including four farmers, were killed in violence during a protest on Sunday.
The UPA administration has banned several opposition politicians from visiting Lakhimpur to meet the families of the dead farmers, citing law and order problems and regulations against the gathering of four or more people.
Rahul Gandhi has been denied permission. “We plan to go to the site with two chiefs. We are only three people.”
Accusing Mr. Gandhi of being a “planned attack on farmers”, Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Lucknow but did not go to Lakhimpur.
Early on Monday, Congress leaders Priyanka Gandhi and Deepinder Hooda were stopped at Sitapur near Lakhimpur Keri and surrounded by police.
Priyanka Gandhi was seen in a major confrontation with the police as she was ordered to be arrested. In a video he lashes out at police when Mr Hooda is physically pushed. “Try to touch me …” she was heard to say. “If you put me in that car, I will accuse you of kidnapping. And the charge will not be against the police, but you,” he told police.
She has since been detained at a state guest house in Sitapur.
Rahul Gandhi tweeted after his arrest: “Priyanka, I know you will not back down – they are stunned by your courage. In this non-violent way for justice, we will let the country win the alms.”