Digvijay, others nabbed in MP capital

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Bhopal, July 8 (UNI) Congress General Secretary and former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Digvijay Singh, several other party leaders and thousands of activists were arrested here today when they attempted to gherao the Assembly to protest recent communal violence in the state and demand ouster of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) regime.

Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly Jamuna Devi, the party's state unit President Suresh Pachouri and state Congress Election Campaign Committee Chairman Ajay Singh also courted arrest at Roshanpura crossing.

Earlier addressing a massive gathering, Mr Pachouri called upon party workers to remain united for dethroning the ''corrupt, inefficient and communal'' BJP government.

''Our only goal is to come to power. It is certain that the Congress will surge to power after the coming Assembly polls as the BJP regime stands exposed. The people will give a fitting reply to the BJP at the hustings as they want to get rid of this government,'' he claimed.

Charging the BJP of ''misrule'' over the past four-and-a-half years, Ms Devi said that ruling a state was no joke and this regime failed to deliver the goods.

Mentioning the ''torture'' she was subjected to by city police while staging a sit-in in the vicinity of Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan's residence on Sunday, Ms Devi said, ''women are unsafe in this state and no woman should be treated like I was. This government's ouster will be the sole fitting reply to the insult I suffered.'' She appealed to Congress activists to sink all differences and make the BJP's defeat their one-point agenda.

In his brief address, Mr Digvijay Singh urged partymen to bring unity in the Congress that was ''rejuvenated'' by the recent visit of Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi. He stressed the need for an issue-based struggle against the BJP.

Union Minister of State Kantilal Bhuria, AICC General Secretary V Narayanasamy, National Students' Union of India state President Rashmi Pawar and leaders of the party's several wings also spoke on the occasion.

Congress workers also burnt the Chief Minister in effigy and shouted slogans against the government.

Later talking to the press, Congress state chief spokesman Manak Agrawal congratulated party activists on their show of unity and determination during the demonstration.

Mr Agrawal said that the Congress demanded a judicial probe by a sitting High Court judge into the police ''misbehaviour'' against Ms Devi. The government should obtain her consent before the probe was conducted.

''If our demand is not fulfilled, Congress workers will show black flags and gherao the Chief Minister and his cabinet colleagues when they undertake tours outside Bhopal,'' Mr Agrawal warned.

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