Varanasi, Oct 16: Describing the violence during a protest march by seers and others in Varanasi a "conspiracy", former Union minister Shriprakash Jaiswal today alleged that the ruling SP was implicating leaders of his Congress party to "please" Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Jaiswal said that the Centre and the state government were hand in glove, and threatened to disrupt the assembly proceedings if Congress MLA Ajay Rai, arrested in connection with the violence, was not released.
Slamming the UP government for slapping the National Security Act (NSA) on Rai, the former Union minister said, "Was he any terrorist from Pakistan that you (UP Government) slapped NSA on him." He alleged that the Samajwadi Party government was trying to "please" the Prime Minister to save its leaders from CBI cases.
"There are some cases of the ruling Samajwadi Party and their leaders that are concerned with CBI inquiry," he said, adding that "this was the main reason for which the UP government was allegedly pleasing the Prime Minister by registering false cases against Rai and putting him in jail and also targeting Congress workers."
Rai was arrested earlier this month along with over 50 others for their alleged role in the violence and arson in this holy city during a march by seers and other local leaders against police action on protesters opposing ban on immersion of Ganesha idols in the Ganga river.
Rai, who represents Pindra constituency in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly, had unsuccessfully contested the last Lok Sabha election from Varanasi against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal.
Three local BJP MLAs and leaders of various political parties too participated in the protest march but why was only Rai arrested, Jaiswal asked. He said the incident of lathicharge on saints and seers was an assault on 'sanatan parampara' (long-running tradition) and an insult of the people of this holy city. Jaiswal said he would submit a report on the incident to the party high command.
Meanwhile, Congress Legislative Party leader Pradeep Mathur said the Uttar Pradesh Unit of Congress will take out a march in Lucknow on October 19 in protest against arrest of Congress men including its MLA Rai.