Black paint thrown on Kejriwal, political slugfest results

A man who claimed to be a BJP activist Monday threw black paint at Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Arvind Kejriwal while he was addressing a press conference here.

A man who claimed to be a BJP activist Monday threw black paint at Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Arvind Kejriwal while he was addressing a press conference here.

Kejriwal said he forgave the man, but the incident resulted in a political slugfest between the BJP, AAP and Congress.

The man who threw the paint identified himself as Nachiketa Walnekar, a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) activist from Ahmednagar in Maharashtra. The BJP, though, has denied the claim that he was from its ranks.

The incident created a ruckus and disrupted proceedings at the conference.

The AAP leader was explaining his stand on complaints made against him to Anna Hazare, with whom he had led an anti-corruption campaign that gripped Delhi two years ago.

Just as Kejriwal, who was sitting on the dais with other party leaders, demanded a probe into the allegations against him, Walnekar threw the paint and started shouting pro-Hazare slogans. He was then bundled away by AAP activists.

Drops of paint fell on Kejriwal’s left cheek while AAP national executive member Manish Sisodia’s cap was smeared in black paint. Sisodia is contesting from Patparganj assembly seat. AAP member and senior lawyer Prashant Bhushan also had smudges on his hands.

Walnekar said he was a supporter of social activist Anna Hazare and was angry with the way Kejriwal disbanded the India Against Corruption movement, which was at the forefront of many campaigns. Hazare, though, disapproved of the act.

“Anna Hazare never wanted the movement to end and Arvind Kejriwal has misused the name of Anna Hazare,” Walnekar told reporters as he was pushed and shoved down the staircase by AAP workers.

Agreeing that people had the right to show their anger, Hazare however said this particular act was wrong.

“One should oppose wrong people getting elected as a member of the state assembly. Their anger should come out, but this is not the way,” Hazare told Times Now channel.

“They (protesters) should not use my name,” he added.

Meanwhile, Kejriwal forgave Walnekar and said that he had no “ill will against him.”

“I forgive Nachiketa. I have no ill will against him. He seems to have some misconceptions about us… We wish to alter this politics of violence and revenge,” tweeted Kejriwal.

However, the incident gave the BJP, AAP and the Congress an opportunity to take potshots at each other.

While the BJP said Walnekar did not belong to their party, the Congress termed the incident a publicity stunt.

“If he was a BJP worker, then he wouldn’t have raised pro-Anna Hazare slogans. He does not belong to the BJP,” senior party leader Sushma Swaraj told reporters.

Another BJP leader, Meenakshi Lekhi, condemned the incident and said that Walnekar left BJP in 2009. The incident was an attempt to “malign the party’s image”, leader of the BJP state unit V.K. Malhotra said, claiming that the AAP, was “Congress’s B-team”.

Meanwhile, Congress leader and Delhi minister Haroon Yusuf said the AAP was “seeking publicity from such incidents”.

The AAP, on the other hand, accused both the BJP and Congress of working together, afraid of AAP’s popularity.

“These are all BJP and Congress people conspiring against us. They are scared of our rising popularity,” said Kejriwal.

“It is an attempt to put our morale down,” added AAP member Kumar Vishvash.


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