Kerala Congress President K Sudhakaran on Friday suspended three party workers that were involved in allegedly threatening a vegetable shop owner for not paying Rs 2,000 in fund collection for the 'Bharat Jodo Yatra'.
Taking to Twitter, K Sudhakaran wrote, "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."
Hardeep Singh Puri, Union Minister for Housing and Urban Affairs, reacting to the controversy, wrote, "This seems to be an extortion yatra in the garb of Bharat Jodo!Culture of audacity & impunity nurtured by Congress continues. Imagine extorting from street vendors! These are people we helped through PMSVANidhi…& look what Congress is doing. Difference is stark."
Earlier, a video went viral on social media showing the Congress workers threatening the vegetable shop owner over the donation amount for the Rahul Gandhi-led Congress pan India march. In the video, the Congress worker is seen distributing flyers of the party yatra and further demanding Rs 2,000 from a local vegetable owner.
The shop owner is then seen arguing with the worker, saying, "We ourselves are struggling to make ends meet, you should be supporting us instead of asking us for money." Both- the shopkeeper and the Congress worker is seen exchanging high pitch digs and using foul language.
S Fawaz, shop owner, told ANI, "A group of Congress workers reached the shop and asked for donations for the 'Bharat Jodo Yatra'. I gave Rs 500 but they demanded Rs 2,000. They damaged weighing machines, and threw away vegetables."
The shop keeper, who also went to the party office, threatened them. The state police have registered two cases after the incident- one was registered against the party workers for criminal trespassing, causing damage to property and for criminal intimidation. Another one was filed against the shop owner among others for using obscene language in public and for criminal intimidation.