Three Congress workers in Kerala’s Kollam district have been suspended from the party for allegedly vandalising a vegetable shop after its owner failed to cough up the donation demanded by them for Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodho Yatra Thursday.
The alleged attack on the wayside vendor was unleashed by a three-member group led by Youth Congress state general secretary H Aneesh Khan. The Congress workers allegedly demanded Rs 2,000 from S Fawas, who was ready to donate Rs 500 for the yatra.
Three party workers involved in an unacceptable incident in Kollam have been suspended with immediate effect. They do not represent our ideology and such behaviour is inexcusable. The party is crowdfunding small donations voluntarily unlike others who get corporate donations.
— K Sudhakaran (@SudhakaranINC) September 16, 2022
In his complaint to the local police, the vendor said the Congress leaders insisted he should give Rs 2,000. “I was ready to give Rs 500, but they threatened me that I should give the amount (Rs 2,000) written in the receipt. As the Onam festival was over, business was very dull. Hence, I could not give the demanded amount. Subsequently, they threw away the vegetables and the weighing machine on the road,’’ said the trader.
Responding to the incident, Congress state president K Sudhakaran said three party workers involved in an “unacceptable incident” in Kollam were suspended with immediate effect.
“They do not represent our ideology and such behaviour is inexcusable. The party is crowdfunding small donations voluntarily unlike others who get corporate donations,” he said.
He said the yatra is meant to unite the country. “Common people of this country are helping the Congress party by giving whatever money they can. Congress is not running on the money of big corporate companies. It is not Congress culture to collect money by threatening people,’’ he said.
Congress member attack a vegetable shop and destroy their weighing machine worth 8000 Rs for not paying donation of Rs 2000 for Bharath Jodo Yatra at Kunnikodu / Kerala. pic.twitter.com/Gds6gnR7VI
— Bipin Madhu (@bipinaiswarya) September 16, 2022
Senior party leader Jairam Ramesh tweeted and said the KPCC has been doing crowdfunding for years. “Their politics runs on small donations at the grassroots. But this should not have happened. These three were clearly fringe elements and exemplary action has been taken immediately by the PCC President,” Ramesh said.
Kollam District Congress Committee President (DCC) P Rajendra Prasad told PTI that the party would not tolerate such practices. “The trio were activists of the Mandalam Congress committee here. As their act brought embarrassment to the party and the leadership, we have acted swiftly with the consent of the AICC and the KPCC and suspended them immediately,” he said.
Meanwhile, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Friday resumed his party’s Bharat Jodo yatra, a 150-day-long foot march, after a day’s rest from Polayathodu in Kollam district of Kerala. Leader of Opposition in the state Assembly V D Satheesan, AICC general secretary in charge of Organisation K C Venugopal, senior Congress leaders Ramesh Chennithala, K Muraleedharan, and RSP leader N K Premachandran among others were seen walking beside Rahul.
The Bharat Jodo Yatra, which began in Kerala on September 10, will continue through the state covering 450 km and seven districts over a period of 19 days before entering Karnataka on October 1. The yatra will enter Alappuzha on September 17 and pass through Ernakulam district on September 21 and 22 and reach Thrissur on September 23.