Mevani’s arrest is attack on his rights, says Gohil


SENIOR CONGRESS leader Shaktisinh Gohil on Monday termed independent MLA Jignesh Mevani’s arrest over a purported tweet as attack on his right to freedom of speech and expression.

Gohil also brushed aside Gujarat Congress working president Hardik Patel’s recent remarks against party leaders an example of “internal democracy” in Congress and alleged that anyone who speaks out in the BJP is “murdered politically”.

Speaking at a press conference in Rajkot on Monday, the Rajya Sabha member said, “In Gujarat, there are lots of problems. Farmers need electricity but they have to keep fighting for it always. Youths need jobs but they are getting baton-charged. If someone raises his voice for justice, he is jailed”. “Today, the Assam court gave instant bail to Jignesh Mevani as it affected his fundamental right to the freedom of speech and expression. But they are suppressing that also, be it Nilam Makwana, (Yuvrajsinh) Jadeja, Hardik Patel… These all youths are being harassed,” he added.

Makwana, a constable with Gujarat police, was suspended after she went public with her demand for a higher pay while Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Yuvrajsinh Jadeja was arrested for allegedly assaulting policemen during a protest. Hardik has been facing cases when he was spearheading the Patidar quota stir. Mevani was arrested by Assam police last week for his purported tweets critical of the BJP leadership. Gohil, who is also an AICC general secretary, was in Rajkot to attend the one-day chintan shibir of the party.

“There is internal democracy in Congress and I am proud of that. Unlike in the BJP, people here have the right to express themselves in a democratic manner. In BJP, if you try to utter a word against leaders who are doing wrong things, you will be murdered politically… One is supposed to follow them blindly,” Gohil said.

The MP, who has also served as the Leader of Opposition in Gujarat Assembly, also advised party leaders and workers to exercise restrain while making public statements.

“It is our duty to remain considerate and not allow the internal democracy to degenerate into indiscipline. There is internal democracy, but we do restrain ourselves from speaking in public such things as can harm the party because we get enough opportunities to make our points at party forums,” said the senior leader.

He also lashed out at the state government over the low turnout in the examination conducted by the state government on Sunday for recruitment to 3,901 posts of non-secretariat clerks and secretariat office assistants. “As many as 65 per cent of those who applied chose not to take the examination because they thought that under the present dispensation, papers are getting leaked, that those who prepare well are not getting jobs,” said Gohil.

“I want to tell the youth of Gujarat and learned ladies and gentlemen of Gujarat that prolonged one-party rule has descended into haughtiness. They are behaving in a manner if they have voters of Gujarat in their pockets,” said the Congress leader, adding, “Support us, and we will give a people-centric government and not an individual-centric government.”