New Delhi: Congress Interim President Sonia Gandhi on Thursday hit out at the Centre while talking about her late husband and former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi in an event to commemorate the latter’s 75th birth anniversary. (Also read: ‘Pushing Sonia to Take up Party Chief’s Job Not Good Idea,’ Says AK Antony)

She said, “Rajiv Gandhi came to power in 1984 but he never used powers to create an atmosphere of fear or to destroy the freedom & liberty of the people. He never used his power to put the principles of democracy in danger.”

This comes at a time when the Congress and other Opposition parties have claimed the manner in which former finance minister P Chidambaram was treated was depressing and insulting. They termed his arrest in the INX Media case the “murder” of democracy.

The Congress has accused the Centre of using the CBI and ED as a personal “revenge-seeking departments”. Party chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said at a press conference, “The vindictive, selective and malicious manner in which former finance and home minister Chidambaram has been persecuted and prosecuted is nothing short of a brazen personal and political vendetta.”

“Over the last two days India witnessed the broad daylight murder of democracy and the rule of law by a government hell-bent upon using CBI and ED as personal revenge-seeking departments for the party in power,” he charged.

Leader of the Congress in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury criticised the BJP government for pursuing vendetta politics against the party’s leaders and said the former union minister was arrested as he was vocal on corruption by the saffron party leaders.

Congress workers held protests in West Bengal and Madhya Pradesh against Chidambaram’s arrest. In various parts of West Bengal, party workers staged road and blockades and organised rallies on Thursday.

Youth Congress activists, carrying posters and placards, were seen raising slogans against the BJP-led Centre government in Kolkata and several other districts, including North 24 Paraganas, South 24 Paraganas, Malda, Murshidabad and Birbhum. The protesters claimed that the Centre was pursuing “vendetta politics” against the party leaders.

Congress workers protested outside the CBI office in Madhya Pradesh’s Bhopal city. They held placards with messages alleging “misuse” of the CBI gathered outside the agency’s office in the Char Imli area and staged an agitation.