BSP to Sonia Gandhi: Apologise to Mayawati in Parliament for Joshi slur

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Lucknow, July 16 (ANI): The controversial arrest of Uttar Pradesh Congress unit chief Rita Bahuguna Joshi over her objectionable remarks on State Chief Minister Mayawati has taken the shape of a major political clash with the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP)-led State government here.

BSP State chief Satish Mishra on Thursday demanded that Congress Party President Sonia Gandhi apologise in the Lok Sabha for Joshi's remarks against Mayawati.

Bahuguna's house was set ablaze and some property at the premises was targeted by some unidentified hooligans here on Thursday.

The Congress party blamed BSP workers for the arson act.

Reacting to the incident, Congress party spokesman Abhishek Manu Singhvi said: "It's a state-sponsored vandalism, hooliganism. We are certainly going to take a serious note of it and all possible legal recourse available to us."

BSP leaders, however, claimed that Congress workers had set fire to Joshi's house.

"Our workers did not torch Rita's house. It was rather Congress workers who set it ablaze," said Mishra.

State police later claimed to have detained four persons in connection with the incident.

Meanwhile, police prevented the burning of an effigy of Mayawati today. They also baton and cane-charged Congress workers and detained about a hundred of them while they staged a street demonstration against Congress leader Joshi's arrest.

Police arrested Joshi on Thursday and a local court sent her to 14-day judicial remand for making remarks on Wednesday against the CM in an issue related to rape and murder of some Dalit girls in the UP.

The Samajwadi Party, the main opposition party in Uttar Pradesh State Assembly, blamed the police and offered the Congress party any proposal to carry out a joint protest against the state of affairs in Uttar Pradesh. They criticised the police for acting at the behest of State Government.

"Police are working on the directions of Mayawati Government," said Akhilesh Yadav, Samajwadi Party's U.P unit chief.

Bharatiya Janata Party leader Maneka Gandhi demanded the dismissal of the Uttar Pradesh government.

"Time has come for dismissal of the UP Government. In my constituency, about 50 political workers are detained every week. I have never seen a situation like this in India ever," said Maneka Gandhi.

Joshi was arrested in Ghaziabad en route to New Delhi. She was charged under the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act 1989, for allegedly making derogatory remarks about Mayawati.

Joshi, however, has denied having said anything to offend Mayawati or Dalits.

"It was at a meeting in Moradabad that I had simply sought to draw the people's attention to the fact that Mayawati's dole of Rs.25,000 to every Dalit rape victim was quite ironical as the state police chief was spending lakhs on the helicopter ride that he undertakes to hand over that paltry amount to the victim," Joshi told media persons. (ANI)

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