A five-member TMC parliamentary delegation met the chief election commissioner on Monday and registered their protest against the arrest of party spokesperson Saket Gokhale by the Gujarat Police.
“The delegation met the CEC over the harassment and torture of our national spokesperson. We told him that he was arrested once in Ahmedabad and a case was also lodged against him in Morbi while the model code of conduct was in force. We also said that he has been wrongly charged under Section 125 (of the Representation of the People Act) which is not attracted by what he tweeted. So, this is a case of harassment,” said TMC MP Saugata Ray after the meeting.
He asked why the section was not raised when Chief Minister of Assam Himanta Biswa Sarma reportedly “preached and fanned communalism and hatred towards religious minorities while campaigning in the recently held assembly election in Gujarat” or against Paresh Rawal, former MP of the BJP, who “preached hatred against the Bengali community while campaigning in the run-up of Gujarat assembly election”.
Gokhale had on December 1 tweeted a news clipping about information purportedly obtained through a Right to Information application, claiming that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Morbi after the bridge collapse cost Rs 30 crore.
Soon after, the Press Information Bureau tweeted a ‘fact check’, saying the information was fake.
An FIR was registered against Gokhale on charges of forgery and printing defamatory content, and he was subsequently arrested twice.
The TMC delegation which met the CEC also included Derek O’Brien, Kalyan Banerjee, Sukhendu Sekhar Ray and Mausam Noor.
“We have strongly registered our protect against this and the CEC promised us he will ask for a report and take necessary action,” Saugata Ray said.