Ujjain: The Congress party workers of Ujjain parliamentary constituency seemed a divided house here on Friday, during the nation-wide agitation called by the All-India Congress Committee in protest against demonetisation. Instead of putting a stiff opposition on roads against ‘note-bandi’ (note ban), the party leaders remained indulged in gut-bandi (groupism). Claiming themselves as ‘wafadar’ (loyal) Congressi, a section of the party took out a ‘Janakrosh Rally’ though the police administration opened a mild cane charge on them. On the other hand, another group led by former MP Premchand Guddu organised a ‘Janakrosh Sabha’ at Shahid Park to expose the faults of demonetisation.
It was first public agitation launched by the Congress in the New Year-2017, but despite considerable attendance in both the said events, the party at large failed to impress anybody due to division among local rank and file as well as no direct involvement of the people. All eyes were set on the number of people the party would generate for the event, but by Thursday night it became clear that the influential Congress leaders wanted their dominance over the event. The ego-clash finally led to division among the senior leaders. One group claimed them as loyal Congressmen while the other group termed them as original Congressmen. Looking at the dispute, some veteran party leaders decided not to join any of the programmes and sit silently in their house. The district administration, which had cancelled all its scheduled meetings slated for Friday, found it better to control the agitators not through lip service, but by showing muscle power.
During the Janakrosh Rally, the Congress workers looked quite aggressive. They started reaching the assembly point at Samajik Nyay Parisar, Agar Road since morning from Tarana, Ghattia, Mahipdur, Khachrod, Nagda, Alote, Barnagar and rural areas of Ujjain tehsil. Till 1 pm, about 2,000 workers had assembled there following which the rally was taken out. It crossed Chamunda Mata Chauraha, Shastri Bridge, Tower Chowk and Priyadarshini Choraha, but the administration declined to allow them to gherao the collectorate by putting barricades on roads and throwing all security materials and police force at the point. Clashes between policemen and Congress workers prevailed for some 10 minutes. However, after pushing and elbowing, the rally once again got momentum, but the administration made it clear that they would not allow the agitators to cross Kalidas Sanskrit Academy. The protesters agreed on it and held a meeting there. Traffic on Kothi Road was diverted through Dewas Road. Those present in the rally included zilla panchayat president Mahesh Parmar, Pradesh Congress Committee secretary Chetan Yadav, former MP Satya Narayan Pawar, former MLAs Rajendra Bharati, Ramlal Malviya, corporators Azad Yadav and Maya Trivedi among others.
At Janakrosh Sabha, about 3,000 party workers marked their presence. A huge pandal was erected and thousands of chairs were also arranged at the venue. The administration had also made proper security and traffic arrangements in view of the agitation. Premchand Guddu, district Congress Committee presidents Anant Naryan Meena (urban) and Jai Singh Darbar (rural), Leader of Opposition in Ujjain Municipal Corporation Rajendra Vasishtha, All-India Youth Congress secretary Hemant Singh Chauhan, Yogesh Sharma, Vivek Yadav, Pushpa Chauhan, Noori Khan and Rajesh Tiwari were present. During the three-hour-long public meeting, the speakers lashed out at the Narendra Modi government for throwing crores of people under an era of inconveniences and exploitations in the name of demonetisation. They alleged that the step was taken to protect the interests of certain industrial houses and to raise the BJP’s prospects in the ensuing five assembly elections.