Do we need a visa to go to UP: Bhupesh Baghel on being denied entry

Chhattisgarh chief minister Bhupesh Baghel on Monday wondered if a visa was required to enter Uttar Pradesh after the Yogi Adityanath government refused to allow his flight to land at Lucknow airport on their way to Lakhimpur Kheri where at least eight persons, including four farmers, were killed in violent clashes on Sunday.

In an exclusive interview with Hindustan Times, Baghel, who has been appointed as a senior observer of the All India Congress Committee (AICC) for the upcoming Uttar Pradesh assembly elections, said the visit of Congress leaders to violence-hit district to express solidarity with the families of aggrieved farmers should not be seen through the prism of politics.

The UP administration asked the Lucknow airport authorities to now allow the flights of Baghel and Punjab deputy CM Sukhjinder S Randhawa to land on its premises, following which the leaders have decided to take the road route on their way to the poll-bound state where the Congress is looking to make a comeback, led by Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and team.

When asked about the BJP government’s claims that the Opposition was indulging in tragedy tourism, Baghel said, “The first thing is nobody can deny the incident happened. The BJP government has been exposed. Now, when political leaders are trying to go there, they are being stopped. This is wrong. Priyanka Gandhi is being harassed without any warrant for going there. ”

“Is there no right of citizens? Do we need a visa to go to UP? When something happens in other states, do the BJP leaders don’t pay a visit? When they do, it’s fine, when others do, it’s politics?” he further said.

When asked about the impact of Congress leaders taking a stand on issues like the farm laws and the Hathras gangrape, but the same not having any impact electorally, he said, “Why should everything be linked with elections? Wherever there is injustice, the Congress is fighting there. We stand in solidarity with farmers and that’s why Congress leaders are heading to Lakhimpur Kheri.”

He also hit out at Haryana chief minister for asking party workers to pick up sticks against protesting farmers, adding that it was on the same day that eight persons were killed in their neighbouring state.

“The three black farms laws passed by have been opposed by several states like Chhattisgarh, Punjab, Rajasthan and West Bengal. Farmers have been protesting against the same for months now and their CM makes such a statement. The killing of farmers was a horrible incident and we cannot criticise it enough. Rahul Gandhi was the first person to raise his voice against it,” he added.

He, however, refused to say much about the recent political developments in Punjab, while asserting the same would not happen in Chhattisgarh.

“No question of Punjab situation replicating in Chhattisgarh. All issues are being looked into,” he added.

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