'From Nirvachan Sadan to police station': TMC announces end of 24-hour dharna

    The Hawk
    April9/ 2024
    Last Updated:

    TMC leaders conclude 24-hour protest demanding EC intervention in alleged misuse of central agencies by BJP. AAP extends support, condemns police action.

    TMC leader Dola Sen

    New Delhi: Raising slogans against the BJP, Trinamool Congress (TMC) leaders ended their 24-hour protest at the Mandir Marg police station here on Tuesday evening, a day after they were detained while staging a dharna outside the Election Commission's office.

    Leaders of the Aam Aadmi Party, including Saurabh Bharadwaj and Dilip Pandey, met with the protesting TMC leaders who camped overnight at the police station to extend support.

    The TMC leaders on Monday met with the full bench of the Election Commission (EC) and urged the poll body to change the heads of the Enforcement Directorate (ED), Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), National Investigation Agency (NIA) and income-tax (I-T) department, alleging that they are acting at the behest of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) at the Centre.

    Later, the 10-member delegation of the party, including Derek O'Brien, Mohammed Nadimul Haque, Dola Sen, Saket Gokhale, Sagarika Ghose, MLA Vivek Gupta, former MPs Arpita Ghosh, Santanu Sen and Abir Ranjan Biswas and the party's West Bengal students' wing vice-president Sudip Raha, announced that they were sitting on a 24-hour dharna.

    The delegation urged the commission to ensure a level-playing field in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls and stop the "misuse" of central agencies against opposition parties and leaders.

    The leaders were asked to disperse by the police, but as they continued their protest, the security personnel forcibly evicted them and detained them.

    They were made to board a bus, which O'Brien said drove around for about an hour and a half, after which they were taken to the Mandir Marg police station, where they decided to continue their protest.

    Police, however, said the TMC leaders were released on Monday night but they stayed put at the police station throughout the night and continued their dharna.

    "Today, they again came back to the police station. They are still allowed to go but they did not leave," a police officer said.

    While all TMC leaders sat inside the police station premises, Haque and Ghose, who had gone out briefly, were not allowed to re-enter. They sat on a dharna outside the boundary of the building.

    "I was here all night and had gone home in the morning. Now we are not being allowed to enter the police station," Haque said.

    Around 4.30 pm, the TMC leaders ended their protest and walked out of the police station while raising slogans accusing the BJP of turning central agencies into its "branch office".


    "We want the EC to take an impartial stand on the issue and change the heads of these agencies. We were on a 24-hour dharna... Women MPs were detained after sunset, we were not told what the charges were, and only after midnight they told us we were free to go," Dola Sen told the media after the protest ended.

    In a post on 'X' on Tuesday morning, Gokhale said, "We 10 MPs & former MPs from the TMC started a 24hr peaceful dharna outside the Election Commission last evening... We were manhandled by Delhi Police, detained, taken around Delhi, and finally dumped at Mandir Marg Police Station."


    "As we said - our protest is for 24 hrs. We're all at Mandir Marg Police Station, where we were detained, silently carrying on our protest," he added.

    AAP leaders, meanwhile, condemned the police action.

    "TMC leaders went to the EC to demand that the attacks on opposition by agencies like ED, I-T (department) and CBI be stopped. Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) is campaigning across the country every day while raids are being carried out against opposition leaders so that they can't campaign," Bharadwaj said.

    In a post on 'X', AAP's Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh also extended support to the TMC.

    "If you ask for justice from the Election Commission, you will get jail. We are with TMC MP Derek O'Brien and his party's struggle," he said in a post in Hindi.


    The Mamata Banerjee-led TMC has been alleging that the central probe agencies have been targeting opposition parties ahead of the Lok Sabha polls at the behest of the BJP-led central government.

    The leaders had demanded that the heads of the Enforcement Directorate, Central Bureau of Investigation, National Investigation Agency and Income Tax department be changed as they were allegedly acting at the behest of the ruling BJP.