Three weeks after he allegedly slapped a youth at a blanket distribution ceremony in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh Minister of State for Public Works Department Surendra Singh Patel was on Monday evening caught on camera while allegedly attempting to gag a party worker and following it up with a slap and a punch.
Mr. Patel allegedly hit the youth when he rose in the middle of a meeting and complained about the high-handedness of a party member.“Negative campaign”
The three-time minister and a close associate of PWD Minister Shivpal Singh Yadav, Mr. Patel dismissed the allegation and contended that the media was running a “negative campaign” to malign him.
“There were thousands of angry workers there, the atmosphere was tense. How can anyone dare slap somebody in such a heated atmosphere? I was only urging the youth to calm down and maintain peace. I assured him that his queries would be heard later but he insisted on shouting so I had to confront him,” Mr. Patel told The Hindu.
A day prior to the incident, the youth was allegedly manhandled by a party member at a gathering, and he had confronted Mr. Patel to register his complaint.It’s arrogance: BJP
The Bharatiya Janata Party criticised the Minister, saying “arrogance” had become part of the Samajwadi Party culture. “It’s not surprising that SP Ministers are engaging in such brazen acts. The poor law and order situation is proof of that,” BJP spokesperson Vijay Bahadur Pathak said.