New Delhi, Oct 4 : After Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra visited Bulgarhi village in Hathras district of UP to meet the family of a Dalit gang rape-murder victim, party veteran Oommen Chandy has compared the development with the 1977 visit of Indira Gandhi to Belchi village in Bihar that revived the party's electoral fortunes.
On Thursday, Rahul and Priyanka were detained and sent back to Delhi but allowed to proceed to Hathras on Saturday only after a scuffle with police.
In July 1977, Indira Gandhi, as an opposition leader, had visited Belchi village by travelling on a train, jeep, tractor and finally riding an elephant to reach the site of massacre of 10 Dalits in the Patna district village. In 1980, the Congress returned to power at the Centre.
Former Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy tweeted: "Rahul and Priyanka's visit to Hathras reminds me of a similar visit by Smt Indira Gandhi back in 1977 to Belchi in Bihar's Patna district where Dalits were massacred."
"Rahulji and Priyankaji braved all attempt to stop them from reaching Hathras. Their arrival to provide support and solace is an act in history repeating itself. 'Aadhi roti khayenge, Indira ko bulayenge' slogan will resonate again -- now for her grandchildren. Dalit dignity cannot be traded," he tweeted.
Congress veteran Margret Alva said that she was happy to see the party leaders and supporters hit the streets under the leadership of Rahul and Priyanka.
"The party has always stood for the rights of the marginalised and oppressed. Wish I was there," she said.
The Congress leaders also slammed the Uttar Pradesh government for its high-handedness. Maharashtra Minister Ashok Chavan said: "Such shameful display of unlawful actions. The ones who have sworn to protect us are instead oppressing those who are raising their voice to protect the nation's daughters. I strongly condemn these reprehensible actions."
Priyanka's husband Robert Vadra tweeted; "Proud of you P... this is the only way to find justice for the suffering people in our country. I and the entire family worry about you and the people of our country do too, but we have to be front-footed to stop all the atrocities on the poor and keep fighting for the people."