All India Trinamool Congress president and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who is scheduled to reach Delhi on Tuesday night, strongly condemned the incident of Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Akhilesh Yadav being stopped at Lucknow airport. Banerjee said such incidents took place because of "arrogant attitude of so-called BJP leaders".
Speaking to news agency ANI, the AITC chief said, "If under Yogi's rule, a former Chief Minister is not allowed to attend a college event then there is 'rukawat'. 'Rukawat ke liye khed hai'...There is such a situation in the country today that people are not allowed to go to places".
Banerjee also referred to a similar incident in the past, saying "Jignesh Mevani was also stopped from attending a University event in Gujarat". "He was threatened by BJP goons and they preach to us. They indulge in hate politics. Never before was this ever done in our nation. It's unfortunate, I condemn this," Banerjee went on to claim further.
In a hard-hitting Twitter post, the West Bengal Chief Minister wrote, "I have already spoken to Akhilesh Yadav. We all condemn the arrogant attitude of the so-called BJP leaders who did not allow Akhilesh to address the students. Even Jignesh Mevani was not allowed".
I've already spoken to @yadavakhilesh. We all condemn the arrogant attitude of the so-called #BJP ‘leaders’ who didn't allow Akhilesh to address the students. Even @jigneshmevani80 was not allowed. Where is the democracy in our country? And they are giving lessons to everybody!— Mamata Banerjee (@MamataOfficial) February 12, 2019
Earlier in the day, Yadav was prevented from boarding plane at Lucknow airport in a bid to block his visit to Allahabad, triggering outrage by opposition parties in the state and elsewhere in the country. The former Uttar Pradesh chief minister said he flew to Allahabad from Chaudhary Charan Singh International Airport to attend an event at Allahabad University. A 15-member joint delegation of the SP-BSP coalition has also decided to hand a memorandum over to Governor Ram Naik in this regard on Wednesday.
In a separate incident on Monday, Mevani's college cancelled its annual day function after the institution's trustees got protest calls against the leader's visit as the chief guest.
In a related note, Banerjee is scheduled to take part in Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's mega Opposition rally on Wednesday. Titled 'Tanashahi Hatao, Desh Bachao' (Remove Dictatorship, Save Country, the AAP's anti-BJP rally is expected attendance of several Opposition leaders from across Party lines.
Apart from the AAP rally, Banerjee will visit Trinamool Congress' office at Parliament where she is expected to meet party lawmakers and MPs from other parties. She is likely to leave for Kolkata on Friday. Last month, the AITC chief organised a grand Opposition rally in Kolkata's historic Brigade Parade Ground, where she gave a clarion call to oust the Narendra Modi-led BJP government in the upcoming Lok Sabha Elections 2019, claiming its "expiry date" has passed.