UP Cong chief Ajay Lallu, RS MP P L Punia arrested during protest outside Lucknow Raj Bhavan

Uttar Pradesh Congress chief Ajay Kumar Lallu, Rajya Sabha MP P L Punia and other party leaders were arrested on Monday while protesting outside the Raj Bhavan here over alleged attempts to topple the Rajasthan government, the party's media convener Lalan Kumar said.

Police sources said Lallu and others were arrested after they reached the Raj Bhavan and squatted on the road.

They were taken to the Eco Garden and released later in the evening on personal bonds, they said.

The Congress held a nationwide demonstration on Monday before Raj Bhavans to protest the ongoing stalemate on convening of an Assembly session in Rajasthan.

Besides Lallu and Punia, around 150 other party workers were arrested while staging the dharna here against the alleged attempts to "murder" democracy in Rajasthan by the BJP, Lalan Kumar said.

UP Pradesh Congress Committee Chief Lallu alleged the ruling BJP is busy in toppling elected governments at a time the country is facing a pandemic.

He alleged the Raj Bhavan was "misused" in Goa where the Congress was not allowed to form a government despite winning the highest number of seats, and the party's elected governments were toppled in Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh too.

There are similar attempt to destabilise governments in Punjab and Maharashtra, he alleged.

"The same is being done in Rajasthan. All this has raised a question mark on the role of Raj Bhavan," he told PTI over phone.

Instead of following the healthy democratic traditions of the country, BJP is trying to gag them and this is most dangerous, Lallu said, adding that his party will fight against such political conspiracies and efforts to crush democracy.

Lallu also tweeted about his arrest.

"My 21st arrest in less than six months. Protest-demonstration is a right granted by the Constitution. Why is this government scared? Listen, BJP government, we will not tolerate murder of democracy," he posted on his Twitter account.

Congress RS member Punia charged that the BJP was working like "political looters" who do not care about who the people have elected.

They think even if people have not elected them, they can trample upon the mandate by buying MLAs to form governments. After toppling the elected governments in Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka, they are now targeting the Rajasthan government, the party spokesperson said.

The Rajasthan Cabinet has passed a resolution for convening a session of the state Assembly, but Governor Kalraj Mishra rejected it on the directives of the BJP, he claimed.

The reason for this is also to save the membership of rebel Congress leader Sachin Pilot who destabilised the Rajasthan government, Punia added.
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