With opposition leaders prevented from going to Lakhimpur Kheri, Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut on Tuesday met Rahul Gandhi and said a united opposition is very important to save democracy in the country.

He is learnt to have discussed the formulation of a joint opposition strategy on the issue of Lakhimpur Kheri violence and the detention of prominent leaders, including Priyanka Gandhi Vadra.

Raut, who called on Gandhi this evening, did not share details of what transpired between the two leaders but said a joint action by political parties was needed against this “oppression”.

“I met Rahul Gandhi. We discussed many issues, but I cannot disclose what all we discussed. I have also held discussions with him on the Lakhimpur incident,” he told reporters after the meeting.

“A united opposition is very important for the country and to save democracy,” he said, adding they discussed the current situation in the country.

“Where is democracy? Is there any democracy left in this country…Democracy has been demolished in the country,” he alleged.

He said there are other issues too besides Lakhimpur that were discussed at the meeting.

The Sena leader said the incident in Uttar Pradesh was a matter of concern and the illegal detention of Priyanka Gandhi was wrong.

“Why Priyanka Gandhi, who is the daughter of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi and the granddaughter of former prime minister Indira Gandhi who made sacrifices for the country, was detained while those committing the crime were roaming around freely,” he said.

Raut said if democracy has to be saved, everyone should come together.

Asked whether a joint delegation of opposition leaders could visit Lakhimpur Kheri in UP, the Shiv Sena MP said it is also being discussed.

Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, who reached Lakhimpur Kheri in the wee hours on Monday, was detained in Sitapur and was not allowed to enter the village where eight persons lost their lives in violent clashes on Sunday.

Many other leaders from opposition parties, including the Congress, AAP, SP and the BSP, have been detained by the UP government and prevented from going to Lakhimpur Kheri.

“Lakhimpur Kheri violence has shaken the nation, Priyanka Gandhi has been arrested by the UP government, opposition leaders are being restricted from meeting farmers. There is a need for joint opposition action against oppression by the Government in UP,” Raut earlier tweeted.

The Shiv Sena and the Congress, along with NCP, jointly run the Maha Vikas Aghadi government in Maharashtra, after the Sena quit the BJP-led NDA alliance in 2019.

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