NEW DELHI/AHMEDABAD, Aug 5 (PTI): The Congress on Friday accused the BJP and the RSS of being behind the ‘murderous attack’ on Rahul Gandhi’s car in Gujarat and said it was done as part of a ‘pre-planned’ conspiracy.
The Congress vice president said the attack on his convoy was carried out by the BJP and RSS workers and this was Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and the BJP’s way of politics.
Gandhi on Friday faced protests in flood-hit Gujarat where a cement brick was hurled at his car allegedly by BJP supporters, breaking the window planes of his car.
He was also shown black flags, that forced him to cut short his address at a gathering in Dhanera town of Banaskantha district and had to leave in a huff.
Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad condemned the incident, saying it was a ‘murderous attack’ by the BJP and the RSS carried out under a ‘pre-planned conspiracy’.
He accused the BJP government led by Chief Minister Vijay Rupani in Gujarat of failing to provide security to Gandhi, who is a SPG protectee.
“In yesterday’s incident, the BJP workers hit a big stone at me that hit my PSO. This is Modi ji, BJP’s and RSS’s way of politics. What else can we say,” Gandhi said outside Parliament.
When asked that the prime minister and the BJP have not condemned the incident so far, Gandhi said, “When they themselves do such a thing, how will they condemn it. It is done by their people so why would they condemn it.”
Azad, accompanied by Leader of Congress in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge, Congress Deputy Leader in Rajya Sabha Anand Sharma and AICC media incharge Randeep Surjewala strongly condemned the attack on Gandhi, saying such things cannot stop the Congress party or its vice president from meeting people and hearing their grievances.
“We strongly condemn the attack on Gandhi as it has also brought forward the real face of the BJP, which is known for doing this since independence,” Azad said.
He said the concrete boulder weighing 1.5 kg was aimed at Gandhi who was seated on the front seat with his window pane lowered and had it hit him on the head it could have proved fatal.
Azad said that with elections round the corner, it was the responsibility of the state and central government to ensure safety and security of SPG protectees as they are to be ‘most protected’ under an act of Parliament.
“If it happens again, I think the people of the country will not tolerate this,” he said.
Asked why Gandhi did not accept the bullet proof car provided by the state government, Azad said sometimes one has to use a non-bullet proof car and be sensitive to the public.
Kharge said, “What is happening is not good for the country and for the democracy. If people are in distress, meeting them is not an offence and giving this treatment to those who meet the people is not good.”
Anand Sharma said, “What happened in Gujarat is unacceptable in any civilised society and democracy.”
“It is also an exposure of the intent, ideology and character of the BJP and the RSS, which believes in violence, intimidation and physical assaults on political opponents and leaders,” he claimed.
He said the BJP was using every possible means to capture power everywhere.
Sharma said that there are elections in Gujarat and it was the duty and responsibility of Rahul Gandhi to stand with the people suffering due to floods and no one can stop him.
“The Congress has seen challenges, ups and downs, neither Rahul Gandhi or the Congress leaders can ever be intimidated or suppressed and we will fight the BJP agenda and protect democracy,” he said.
Surjewala said the Congress party has demanded that a case of attempt to murder be registered after identifying four persons who have been named in the complaint.
“But the puppet police has not yet registered any case, even after our people standing on a dharna outside the police station there since last night. There is abject failure on the part of CM Vijay Rupani and his government,” he said.
Noting that the Congress struggle will continue despite such violence, Surjewala said, “Will Godse-waad be converted into Modi-waad…both are the same as they promote violence, fear and give physical harm which has been continuing since 1948 and is continuing even in 2017.
“But Godse-waad did not succeed in 1948 and neither will Modi-waad… neither Gandhi nor the Congress will bow to their pressure.”
Meanwhile, police on Saturday arrested a person for allegedly throwing a stone on the car of Rahul Gandhi. Banaskantha Superintendent of Police Niraj Badgujar identified the accused as Jayesh Darji alias Anil Rathod.
Congress leaders claimed that he was a local office bearer of the BJP’s youth outfit.
“We have arrested one person named Jayesh Darji alias Anil Rathod for allegedly throwing a stone at the vehicle in which Gandhi was travelling,” Badgujar told PTI.
“We arrested Darji after his name was given by Congress members during the course of investigation,” Badgujar said.
“We will interrogate him about the incident. More names may come up as investigation progresses,” he said.
The Congress claimed that Darji was belonged to BJP Yuva Morcha and he was behind the incident on Friday.
“Jayesh Darji is the secretary of Banaskantha district BJP Yuva Morcha. He is the man who threw the stone at Rahul Gandhi. We have also submitted names of three more persons who conspired along with Darji to throw the stone at Gandhi’s vehicle,” claimed district Congress general secretary Prithviraj Kathwadia.
The police added section 332 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) (for voluntarily causing hurt to deter a public servant from his duty) in the FIR registered in connection with the incident after confirming that an SPG jawan was hurt, Badgujar said.
The FIR against unknown persons was filed under sections 337 (causing hurt by act endangering life) and 427 (mischief causing damage to property) of the IPC.
“We have confirmed that an SPG jawan who was travelling in the vehicle with Rahul Gandhi and was on the back seat of the vehicle sustained minor injuries from the glass that broke after getting hit by a stone,” he said.
The matter is being investigated by Additional Director General of Police Mohan Jha.
Gandhi escaped unhurt after some unidentified persons threw a stone at the car in which he was travelling, breaking the glass pane of the rear window of the vehicle.
The incident triggered sharp protests from the Congress.
Gandhi was on a visit to the flood-affected town.
He had to cut short his address to a gathering at Lal Chowk area of Dhanera in Banaskantha district as black flags were waved at him by some of those who turned up for the meeting.
The Congress MLA from the area, Joitabhai Patel, is in Bengaluru along with 43 party legislators who have been flown to the southern city to fend off what the Congress claimed were poaching attempts ahead of the August 8 Rajya Sabha polls.
The politics in poll-bound Gujarat has been on the boil for quite some time with a section in the Congress led by rebel leader Shankarsinh Vaghela breaking ranks with the party and resignation of half a dozen party MLAs.
After the process for election for three Rajya Sabha seats from Gujarat got underway, the BJP-Congress slugfest has only intensified.
The Congress has fielded Ahmed Patel as its candidate, while the BJP has nominated its president Amit Shah and Union minister Smriti Irani. The ruling party has also put up a Congress rebel as a third candidate.