Kuldeep Singh, possibly mentally retarded, hurled a shoe at Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi at an election rally in Vikas Nagar near here on Monday.

The shoe fell midway and Kuldeep, father of two, was taken into custody, Senior Superintendent of Police G.N. Goswami said.

Mr. Gandhi asked party workers not to hurt the assailant.

This is the second shoe-hurling incident in recent times in Uttarakhand. A man tossed a shoe at Team Anna members at a meeting in Doon city last week.

Hitting out at the BJP at the rallies in Srinagar, Rishikesh and Vikas Nagar, Mr. Gandhi said the slogan Khanduri Hai Zaroori was relevant for the BJP alone as it required the ‘honest face' to hide its massive corruption. Agar Khanduri ji zaroori hei to unhe pahle hathaya kyon tha? Ab unke zaroorat jhoot aur loot ko chipaney ke liye hai (If Khanduriji was a must then why did they remove him in the first instance? Now the BJP requires him to hide the corrupt deeds and loot).

Divisive policies

Accusing the BJP of following divisive policies, Mr. Gandhi said the people deserved justice, development, health, education, food, employment opportunities and a peaceful, secular atmosphere that only the Congress could deliver.

He appealed to the people to vote the Congress to power.

Mr. Gandhi said work had begun on the Rishikesh-Karnaprayag railway project. More such projects to connect the hills to the plains and schemes to uplift the masses would be introduced if the Congress came to power.

The BJP was the common shelter for the likes of the former Minister, Baburam Kushwaha, who was sacked for corrupt practices by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati, he said.

Mr. Gandhi is scheduled to address rallies in the Pithoragarh region on Tuesday.