AAP leader assaulted in Surat, party blames BJP
Ahmedabad, Aug 31: Gujarat Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Manoj Sorathiya was allegedly attacked by a group of nearly 10 persons in Surat city with the Arvind Kejriwal-led outfit blaming the ruling BJP for the incident, police said on Wednesday.
A blame game erupted between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the AAP following the attack on Sorathiya, the opposition outfit's general secretary in Gujarat who was injured in the assault, on Tuesday night in the Kapodra area of Surat city. The BJP dismissed the AAP claim of attack on its leader as drama enacted to gain sympathy of people ahead of polls.
While Gujarat AAP leaders along with party's national convenor Arvind Kejriwal accused the BJP of attacking Sorathiya, the saffron outfit, in a counter allegation, claimed at least three of its workers were injured after being assaulted by AAP activists.
Based on a complaint by Sorathiya, the Surat police registered an FIR (first information report) on early Wednesday morning under section 324 (causing hurt by weapon) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), said inspector NM Chaudhary, adding no one has been arrested yet.
As per the FIR, a group of nearly 10 persons attacked Sorathiya and others outside the AAP's office in the Kapodra area when he was inspecting a Ganesh pandal erected by the local party unit.
In his complaint, Sorathiya claimed the attackers thrashed him and other AAP workers with sticks and steel pipes without any provocation. The AAP leader claimed he suffered injuries on his head.
Gujarat AAP president Gopal Italia alleged that Sorathiya was attacked at the behest of state BJP president CR Paatil "out of frustration".
Notably, the Kejriwal-led outfit has launched an aggressive campaigning in Gujarat ahead of the Assembly elections, expected to be held by the year-end.
"The BJP can not digest the fact that AAP's popularity is growing in Gujarat. Out of frustration, Paatil had asked BJP goons to start attacking AAP leaders in Gujarat. Our sources have told us that Sorathiya was attacked at the behest of Paatil," alleged Italia.
In a tweet, AAP convenor and Delhi Chief Minister Kejriwal said, "It is improper to attack opposition party workers. Victory and defeat are part of electoral politics. But, crushing opposition through violence is against Gujarat's culture and people do not endorse it. I appeal to the Gujarat CM to punish the culprits." In a counter attack, Gujarat BJP spokesperson Rutvij Patel said people who were named as accused in the FIR were actually the victims of violence unleashed by the AAP outside its office.
"When BJP workers were standing at some distance, AAP cadres suddenly rushed towards them in large numbers and attacked our men. During this scuffle, BJP's Dinesh Desai, Kishan Desai and Karsan Sagathiya received serious injuries. They are now receiving treatment at a private hospital," Patel said.
"The AAP is doing such drama (referring to attack on Sorathiya) just to gain sympathy ahead of polls. It is their old tactic to create anarchy ahead of polls and then do such drama to gain popularity on social media," said Patel.