Mamata Banerjee, Arvind Kejriwal condemn Yashwant Sinha’s arrest by BJP government

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Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and his West Bengal counterpart, Mamata Banerjee, tweeted on Tuesday condemning the arrest of the veteran BJP leader and former finance minister, Yashwant Sinha by Maharashtra Police.

Kejriwal tweeted, “Why has Sh Yashwant Sinhaji been arrested? Insane. He shud be released immediately.”

Banerjee, for her part, wrote, “I am concerned about @YashwantSinha Ji former Union Finance Minister in jail. I am sending our MP Dinesh Trivedi to meet him. @YashwantSinha is fighting for the cause of farmers. He has our full support.”

Sinha, meanwhile, has vowed to continue his protest against the Maharashtra government’s apathy towards cotton and soybean farmers in the state’s Vidharbha region. This was after the local police arrested him in Maharashtra’s Akola Monday evening.

Yashwant Sinha

Akola district Superintendent of Police Rakesh Kalasagar had said, “We detained Sinha and around 250 farmers outside the district collectorate as per provisions of section 68 of the Bombay Police Act.”

Those detained were taken to the Akola district police headquarters ground, the IPS officer was later quoted by PTI.

Sinha, along with hundreds of farmers, was protesting against the government for its alleged apathy towards cotton and soybean cultivators outside the Akola district collectors office.

“We are trying to convince Sinha that the government is sensitive towards farmers issues. We have told him that if he wishes, he is free to leave,” district collector Asit Kumar Pandey told PTI.

Pandey said the former Union minister was insisting that FIRs be lodged against bogus Bt cotton companies. The government has already taken strict action and filed FIRs against six such companies, he said.

Speaking to reporters, Sinha said he would stay put even if police allowed him to leave.

“I wish to tell the police, district administration and the state government that if we are formally arrested and released and they think that we will go home, then they are under wrong impression,” Sinha said.

“You are seeing the mood of farmers now. We wont be responsible for what happens,” the veteran leader said.

Sinha also said that he had no word with the state chief minister, Devendra Fadnavis adding that neither had the latter made any attempts to reach out to him.

Asserting that he will continue to press for the farmers’ rights, Sinha said, “I will not get involved in party politics. The important thing is that farmers get relief…I don’t want to get diverted from the farmer’s issue. This has nothing to do with any politics.”

Sinha has been critical of the Centre’s Narendra Modi government’s economic policies. His newspaper article criticising the demonetisation decision by the Modi government had cause unprecedented embarrassment for the BJP and its central government.

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