Gandhinagar : Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Friday received a hostile reception during his visit to the flood affected areas of Dhanera town in Banaskantha district of North Gujarat. His car was attacked by black flag-waving crowds but Gandhi continued with his tour undaunted. “Such heckling and cowardly attacks will not deter me from reaching out to the people in their hour of need,” he said.
One of his security personnel from the SPG (Special Protection Group) suffered minor injuries while glass panes of several cars in his entourage were broken.
Rahul was on visit to the flood-hit Jalore district in Rajasthan in the morning and moved to the Banaskantha district in the afternoon for interaction with the flood-raged villagers.
Condemning the “reprehensible” act, Congress spokesman Abhishek Manu Singhvi told reporters here that Rahul’s entourage was attacked with cement bricks by “BJP goons and anti-social elements” when it was passing from Lal Chowk of Dhaneri village.
He said Rahul had chosen to visit Banaskantha that reported over 70 deaths out of about 200 deaths in Gujarat. BJP Chief Minister Vijay Rupani did not visit the district for six days after the flood havoc, while Prime Minister Modi did not make a stopover while making a flying trip to Gujarat.
Singhvi said this is a new phase of politics in which the political opponents are intimidated and not allowed to visit the areas of calamity and it shows that “the authoritative and dictatorial regime cannot broach any dissent, any show of independence.”
“Does the BJP, a ruling party both in Gujarat and at the Centre, and its goons think that they can silent the voice of opposition in this way? Do they think such undemocratic act of violence will cow down or intimidate anybody,” the Congress spokesman said.
He said the dastardly attempt on Rahul should be condemned unequivocally across the board by every political party.
At the Congress press briefing on scams of the builder-turned Maharashtra housing minister Prakash Mehta, senior party MP Husain Dalwai from Mumbai also condemned the stoning of Rahul’s car at a Congress press briefing as a serious matter, saying it shows that the BJP government can stoop down to do anything. He demanded to bring the culprits to justice.
Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh strongly condmned the attack on Rahul, saying “political violence has no place in a functioning democracy.” Rajya Sabha Opposition leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said the government should not take the incident lightly. The Congress will flight back such fascist tactics to terrorise the opponents, he said.