Citing Centre’s “indifference” towards Gujarat on railway front, Congress workers on Sunday garlanded Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu with a black cloth. The party workers reached near Prabhu by posing as the supporters of BJP, taking police by surprise. Twelve Congress workers were detained by police after the incident which occurred in Nanpura locality. As soon as Prabhu stepped out of his vehicle, protesters garlanded him with the black cloth and also offered him a lollipop.
The minister was in city to attend a function organised at the Southern Gujarat Chamber of Commerce and Industry building. Around fifty protesters had gathered outside the venue and were raising slogans before Prabhu’s arrival but police managed to keep them at a distance. However, some protesters managed to go near the minister.
“We have detained twelve Congress party workers in this connection. We did not have any information regarding the protest plan by them. We will be taking strongest action against them,” said Surat police commissioner Satish Sharma. However, Prabhu went on to attend the programmes, including an address to members of the SGCCI, and a Digi Dhan mela.
In a series of tweets, Prabhu said he laid foundation stone for 35 road under-bridges across Gujarat, and dedicated to nation “a host of railway infra, passenger amenities across Gujarat at Surat.” Gujarat Congress spokesperson Manish Doshi said they will continue similar protests against the BJP’s “anti-people policies and Centre’s indifference towards Gujarat.” “In the last three years, Railway fare as well as price of platform tickets have gone up, and despite charging ‘Swachh Bharat’ cess to passengers, railway platforms remain unclean. Centre has done little for the state in the last three years,” he said.
Union MoS for Agriculture Parshottam Rupala, who was also in city to receive Prabhu, criticised the manner in which the protest was staged. “People should rise above party politics to acknowledge the fact the Railway Minister has come to Surat to inaugurate projects that will benefit the state. And if they are not able to do so, they should at least keep quiet. But Congress is well known for indulging in negativity,” he said.