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Sonia to appear before ED, Congress to stage protests



New Delhi: The Congress will hold protests across the country against the questioning of its chief Sonia Gandhi by the Enforcement Directorate on Thursday, the opposition party said while slamming the agency’s action against its top leadership as “political vendetta”.
The Congress president is set to appear before the ED on Thursday in a money laundering case related to the National Herald-AJL case and top Congress leaders will converge at the AICC headquarters for the protests. Similar protests were held when her son and former party president Rahul Gandhi was quizzed by the agency in June in the case.
Sources said party leaders including MPs will march towards the Enforcement Directorate office and the Delhi Congress will stage a protest march outside Raj Bhawan here.
A meeting of senior party leaders was held at the residence of Mallikarjun Kharge to chalk out the party’s strategy for dealing with the “misuse” of the ED against party chief Sonia Gandhi by the Modi government, they said.
”’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 said on its Twitter handle.
Congress leaders and workers will also be staging such protests outside offices of the Enforcement Directorate in different state capitals, they said.
In the national capital, sources said, the Congress may also stage a protest along with leaders of other opposition parties inside the Parliament complex. Congress members in both houses may also protest inside both houses of Parliament.
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.
Congress leaders and workers, including party MPs, had protested and courted arrest when Rahul Gandhi appeared before the ED in the same case and was questioned for several days.
Some other Congress leaders including Mallikarjun Kharge have also appeared before the probe agency earlier, in the same case.
Congress leader Pawan Khera alleged that the Modi government was misusing probe agencies for political purposes and had “created a tradition of targeting our top leadership”.
“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.
The 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, the 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 police’s alleged “high-handedness”.

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