MUMBAI: Congress supporters who showed black flags to Devendra Fadnavis on Saturday earned the wrath of the police in Marathwada Saturday. Police beat them back with staves after they got a little too close to the Maharashtra chief minister.
The protestors waved flags in Fadnavis’s face to show their ire at the remarks of Maharashtra BJP chief Raosaheb Danve who called farmers ‘ungrateful saalein’ (a pejorative term literally meaning brother-in-law) last Wednesday.
The chief minister was touring rural Marathwada on Saturday, and local Youth Congress workers massed at Pardi village in Osmanabad district to demonstrate their ire. Fadnavis went to Pardi to review a water conservation project along with the local MP Ravindra Gaikwad of the Shiv Sena, who earned notoriety recently for beating an Air-India officer with a slipper.
As Fadnavis inspected a farm pond, the Youth Congress workers turned aggressive and began to shout slogans demanding loan waiver for farmers and procurement of tur dal.
Sensing the protesters were getting too close to the CM, police charged with their batons to scatter the crowd. The mob’s leader Umesh Raje-Nimbalkar and five comrades of his were arrested.
Maharashtra Congress president Ashok Chavan condemned the attack. “First they abuse farmers and then they resort to a lathi-charge when they protest. Farmers will teach a lesson to the government,” Chavan said.
Chavan also condemned similar tactics to quell protesters outside Danve-Patil’s residence in Jalna. “Police have used excessive force to curb a constitutional protest. This is an undeclared emergency,” Chavan said.