Jagjit Singh

Sonia Gandhi to be quizzed by ED in National Herald case, Congress plans pan-India stir

 A meeting was held at senior MP Mallikarjun Kharge's residence on Wednesday where a plan was chalked out for Wednesday regarding the Congress' strategy to be adopted inside and outside Parliament where the Monsoon Session is underway.

Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi is set to appear before the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Thursday in connection with the National Herald-AJL money laundering case. The Congress will stage demonstrations across the country against the questioning of its chief with the opposition party calling the federal agency's action against its top leadership as "political vendetta".

Top Congress leaders have planned to gather at the AICC headquarters in the national capital to express solidarity with the party's interim president. A meeting was held at senior MP Mallikarjun Kharge's residence in the evening where a plan was chalked out for Thursday regarding the Congress' strategy to be adopted inside and outside Parliament where the Monsoon Session is underway.

Similar protests were held when her son and former party president Rahul Gandhi was quizzed by the agency in June in the same case. A number of Congress leaders and workers, including party MPs and chief ministers, had courted arrest when Rahul was questioned for several days.

A PTI report, citing sources, said party leaders, including MPs, will march towards the ED office and the Delhi Congress will stage a protest march outside Raj Bhawan in the national capital.

"The entire Congress family is standing firmly with its President Sonia Gandhi and tomorrow a protest against the dictatorial rule of BJP will be lodged in the whole country,'' the party wrote on its official Twitter handle.

Congress leaders and workers will stage similar protests outside ED offices in other state capitals.

Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh said the entire Congress party will demonstrate across the country in "a most telling manner" against what he described as political vendetta.

"Tomorrow as the political vendetta unleashed by the Modi-Shah duo against our top leadership continues, the entire Congress party across the country will demonstrate its collective solidarity with Smt. Sonia Gandhi in a most telling manner," Ramesh said on Twitter.

Some other Congress leaders including Mallikarjun Kharge have also appeared before the probe agency earlier, in the same case.

Congress leader Pawan Khera said the Modi government was misusing probe agencies for political purposes and had "created a tradition of targeting our top leadership".

"Disgusting politics is entering the nation. Never before was such political misuse of agencies against rivals seen… We will oppose at all levels, inside and outside Parliament against this kind of 'vendetta politics' unleashed by the Modi-Shah duo. Protests against this kind of dirty politics will be done all over the country," said Khera.

Police have already put up barricades around the Congress office on Akbar Road anticipating a repeat of the protests.

The last time when Rahul Gandhi was questioned, police had made elaborate arrangements. A large number of party leaders were detained and taken to far away locations and were released only at midnight.

Congress MPs had raised strong objections and complained to the President as well as the Vice President and Lok Sabha Speaker against the alleged high-handedness of police.

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