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In Rahul Gandhi’s Protest Against CBI Chief’s Ouster, an Attempt to Reach Out to Potential Allies for 2019


New Delhi: The Congress’ campaign against the alleged corruption in Rafale deal gained further momentum on Friday. It was for the first time that opposition parties like Trinamool Congress and CPI publicly joined the grand old party’s protest against the removal of the CBI chief Alok Verma.

Sources within Congress told News18 that the party leaders were very happy with the support they received from opposition parties on the issue of alleged misuse and interference in functioning of CBI.

The opposition parties have so far shown reluctance in accepting the Congress as the national leader, and the senior figure in the Mahagathbandhan, in their fight against BJP. This is why many opposition parties have maintained distance from the party’s campaign against the Rafale deal.

But a common cause of concern – the fear of CBI probes being used as a political tool to silence them – seems to have brought the opposition parties together.
After all the Congress chief Rahul has been constantly raising the Rafale issue in every platform—political rallies, Parliament, social media—to pitch himself as the opposition’s lead voice against Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Friday’s protest against the alleged interference in the functioning of CBI started with Rahul reaching the venue, Dyal Singh college, at around 12 and rushing towards the CBI headquarters in a private vehicle. Shortly before the reacging his destination, the Congress chief was stopped by barricades and by the police deployed there in huge numbers.

Climbing on to a truck Gandhi delivered a short speech. “Modi is destroying all the institutions in the country one by one. To the employees of CBI, I would like to clarify that I’m not trying to attack you. It is not I but Modi who is attacking you just like he’s attacking every institution of the country. It is out of fear that Modi has removed the CBI chief. But rest assured that each and every party in the opposition will fight to prevent this,” Rahul said. He also gave his supporters the slogan ‘Chowkidaar chor hai.’

He was flanked on two sides by CPI leader D Raja and TMC’s Nadimul Haque. Sharad Yadav who has founded his own party Loktantrik Janata Dal also joined the protests but left early.

After courting arrest at Lodhi Road police station, the Congress president said that the government can detain him as many times as they want but they cannot hide the truth. “Prime Minister Narendra Modi has deceived the nation. He can run away from the truth, but he cannot hide it. People of this country have realised what PM has done. Changing the CBI director will not work,” he said.

Opposition parties are later during the day likely to visit President Ram Nath Kovind to formally convey their concerns about government’s alleged tampering in the functioning of CBI.

The Congress’ protests in the national capital were replicated in other parts of the country.

State Congress leaders led demonstrations in their regions against what the Congress described as the “illegal, unconstitutional and illegitimate removal of the CBI director by the Modi-Shah duo that has shamed India and its premier investigative agency”.

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