Lucknow: Former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav was detained by the police after he led a brief sit-in protest in Lucknow ahead of his "Kisan Yatra" scheduled in the Kannauj district.
The Samajwadi Party chief wearing his party's trademark red cap broke through police barricades placed near his residence on Lucknow's Vikramaditya Marg. But the administration stopped him from going to Kannauj.
He shot off a letter to Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla informing him about his virtual arrest and seeking his intervention in the matter, so that he could reach Kannauj. “This is an undemocratic action and violation of my privilege as an MP. Please intervene to restore my privilege,” he wrote in the letter which was shared on social media.
It is unclear whether the Speaker received his letter in time and whether he intervened in the matter or not.
Akhilesh, who is an MP from Kannauj, was bundled in a police minibus and taken away from the spot in the heart of Lucknow to Eco garden in Gomtinagar. Yadav and others were released later.
Earlier, the authorities had informed that the Kisan Yatra had been denied permission, and stopped many leaders from leaving their respective cities citing the COVID-19 protocol in place across the state.
Yadav later tweeted in Hindi, “The coronavirus was merely an excuse to crush the opposition. There's no COVID-19 for BJP. If the opposition wants to carry out programs, there is COVID.”
The Samajwadi Party has already announced support for Tuesday’s Bharat Bandh. It has not disclosed its strategy for the Bandh so far.
“Akhilesh had taken to road almost after nine years. His previous roadshow was held in the year 2011 before he became CM,” observers said. It was also Yadav’s first public appearance since the coronavirus lockdown in March. He has been mostly working from home and has recently started holding meetings in his party office.
The BJP has been taunting Akhilesh, and even Mayawati for that matter, calling them as “Twitter” warriors, taking a swipe at their absence from the ground.