Democracy in Shambles: Abhishek on TMC Spokesperson’s Arrest After Bail in Gujarat

Trinamool Congress national general secretary Abhishek Banerjee on Friday said the arrest of party spokesperson Saket Gokhale twice in three days in Gujarat shows that democracy is still on the brink.

Hours after he was granted bail by a metropolitan court on Thursday, the Gujarat police arrested Gokhale again in a case related to his tweets about the Morbi bridge tragedy.

“Gujarat Police arrests Saket Gokhale twice in a span of three days, that too with Model Code of Conduct!” Banerjee said.

“Election Commission has completely surrendered, continuously working under @BJP4India. Democracy is still crumbling! He added.

The BJP on Thursday retained power in Gujarat for a record seventh time, crushing the opposition to win its biggest-ever majority in the state.

The western state went to the assembly elections in two phases earlier this month.

Gokhale had on December 1 tweeted a news clipping about information allegedly obtained through Right to Information, which claimed that Rs 30 crore had been spent on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Morbi after the bridge collapse .

“RTI reveals Rs 30 crore was spent on Modi’s visit to Morbi for a few hours. Of this, Rs 5.5 crore was purely for ‘Welcome, Event Management & Photography’,” Gokhale had tweeted.

On Tuesday, the Press Information Bureau tweeted a ‘fact check’ calling the information fake.

An FIR was lodged against Gokhale on charges of forgery and publishing defamatory material and he was arrested on 6 December.

The prime minister visited Gujarat on 1 November, a day after a colonial-era suspension bridge over the Machchu river in Morbi town collapsed, killing 135 people.

The TMC spokesperson was granted bail after he was produced before a court in Ahmedabad on Thursday after completing his police custody, but was soon arrested in another case registered by the Morbi police.

The ruling party of West Bengal said in a tweet late on Thursday night that it has sent a three-member delegation to Morbi in view of the development.

The delegation includes senior party leaders Dola Sen, Khalilur Rahman and Asit Mal.

TMC said, “We demand his unconditional release.”

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