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'Women, Sewage Staff Do This Everyday': Priyanka Responds to Yogi Jibe

The UP CM had made dismissive comments on video of Gandhi sweeping the floor of a guest house she'd been detained.

Published
Politics
3 min read
<div class="paragraphs"><p>Priyanka sweeps her room in detention in Uttar Pradesh's Sitapur on 3 October.</p></div>
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"He has not humiliated me by saying so, he has humiliated you all as crores of Dalit brothers and sisters are safai karamcharis and they do this work."

Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi had a sharp response to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, after he commented on a widely-publicised video of Gandhi sweeping the floor of the Sitapur guest house where she'd been detained.

Reacting to the video on 8 October while speaking at a televised event hosted by Network 18, Adityanath had dismissively said:

"The people wanted to make them (Congress leaders) worth doing that and that is what they have made them do. These people have no other work except creating nuisance and spreading negativity."

On the night of Sunday, 3 October, Gandhi was detained by the UP police while she was on her way to Lakhimpur Kheri, to meet the families of the victims of the recent violence there. She was taken to a state guest house in Sitapur where she remained in custody for over two days.

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After her release, Gandhi went to visit the families of the protesting farmers who had been killed after a BJP leader's convoy plowed them down.

Following the chief minister's comment, Gandhi visited a Valmiki temple in a Dalit colony in the state's capital, Lucknow, and swept the floor of its premises as well.

Gandhi said that she wanted to do this to tell the Chief Minister that there was nothing wrong with sweeping floors – an act performed by thousands of ordinary Indians and women to keep their houses clean.

"Scores of women and sewage staff do this everyday. It is a matter of pride and exemplifies the desire to stay humble", said Gandhi while speaking to reporters in Lucknow's Luv Kush Nagar where the colony was located. "The CM's comments smack of his disregard for Dalits and the Congress will not tolerate it".

The Congress leader also criticised the investigation by the police of the incident, where the convoy of Union Minister of State Ajay Misra Teni – allegedly with his son in one of the cars – ran over several farmers on 3 October, while they were protesting against the three farm laws introduced by the union government in 2020, killing four of them.

A journalist covering the protest was also killed in the incident, following which the the driver of the car and two BJP workers were killed in the violence that ensued. The Minister's son, Ashish Misra, was named in the FIR registered on 3 October, but was not even summoned for questioning till Thursday, 7 October.

This is in stark contrast to normal practice of police forces in cases involving deaths, where the main accused is arrested, as was pointed out by the Supreme Court in a hearing on Friday.

"Has it ever happened that a person has trampled people using his vehicle and the police are giving him invitations to join the investigation? Why has he not been arrested?", asked Gandhi.

Ashish Misra did not comply with the first summons issued to him, citing illness, but finally arrived at the Crime Branch office in Lakhimpur on the morning of 9 October for questioning.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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