The Congress has planned another show of strength as the Enforcement Directorate questions party chief Sonia Gandhi on Thursday in an alleged money laundering case connected to the National Herald newspaper. Mrs Gandhi’s questioning had been deferred earlier after she tested positive for Covid and was hospitalised. After being released from hospital in mid-June, she had asked for more time to appear before the agency.
Congress leaders met on Wednesday evening to finalise details of the protests. As Mrs Gandhi leaves for the ED office at 11 am, AICC office bearers and members of frontal organisations will accompany her in a mark of solidarity, sources said.
Party MPs will join as soon as they can after parliament adjourns.State units will also hold protests in state capitals.
“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,” tweeted senior party leader Jairam Ramesh
The Congress had held elaborate protests when Mrs Gandhi’s son, the party’s former chief Rahul Gandhi, was questioned by the agency.
Mr Gandhi underwent questioning by the central probe agency in the same case for five days — each session lasting 10 to 12 hours. Asked how he handled the marathon sessions, Mr Gandhi, in a lighter vein, said “told them I do Vipassana”.
Outside, the party leaders held foot marches and sit-down protests, setting off police action. Many senior leaders and party workers were detained every day. Some were manhandled and injured.
On the last day of questioning, the protest was moved to Jantar Mantar – the designated site for protests in the national capital.
The agency had earlier questioned senior party leaders Mallikarjun Kharge and Pawan Bansal in connection with the case.
The ED has been investigating the role of the Gandhis in the case which involves the Young Indian’s takeover of AJL (Associated Journals Limited), the company which ran the National Herald newspaper.
Founded by Mr Gandhi’s grandfather and the country’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, the newspaper was a Congress mouthpiece that later went entirely online.