New Delhi: Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has set a trend by toeing against her party line and terming the Lakhimpur Kheri violence, in which four farmers were killed as “absolutely condemnable,” reports NDTV.
Responding to a query at the Harvard Kennedy School on Tuesday, she added that there were issues of such nature happening in other parts of India equally which should be raised “when they happen and not when it suits others” because there is a BJP government in Uttar Pradesh.
The alleged killing of four protesting farmers in Uttar Pradesh’s Lakhimpur violence by the convoy of Union minister Ajay Mishra, has sparked a huge row with his son Ashish having been arrested and calls for the minister’s resignation gaining steam.
When asked about the silence maintained by her party colleagues that reflects a defensive stance, Sitharaman added, “No, absolutely not… It’s nice of you to have picked up that one incident which is absolutely condemnable, every one of us say that. Equally there are instances happening elsewhere, is my concern.”
And she elaborated, “India has issues of such nature happening in very many different parts of the country equally. I would like you, and many others, including Dr Amartya Sen, who all know India, to raise it at every time when it happens, not just raise it when it suits us because it’s a state where BJP is in power, one of my cabinet colleague’s son is probably in trouble, and also assume that it’s actually them who did it and not anybody else. Due course of justice will also have a complete inquiry process to establish it.”
Further refuting charges of BJP being on the defense, she said, “And it’s not being defensive about my party or my Prime Minister. It’s being defensive about India. I will talk for India, I will talk for justice for the poor. I will not be mocked at. And if it is mocking, I will be defensive to stand up and say ‘Sorry, let’s talk on facts”. That’s my answer for you.”
Sitharaman is perhaps the first from the ruling establishment to have been candid on the mayhem contrary to the deafening silence by his senior party compatriots. But, will Sitharaman’s explicit observation incur the wrath of her party high command?
Congress delegation seeks Mishra’s removal from President
In another major development, a Congress delegation met President Ram Nath Kovind on Wednesday and demanded the immediate removal of union minister Ajay Kumar Mishra over the Lakhimpur Kheri violence. They also pressed the need for an impartial judicial probe into the case by two sitting Supreme Court judges