Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi’s car was attacked on Friday by unknown persons, who threw stones that hit the car and broke windowpanes of the rear seat of a private SUV in Gujarat’s flood-hit Banaskantha district. In the incident, a SPG guard received minor injuries while Mr. Gandhi sitting in the front seat escaped unhurt.
After the incident, Mr. Gandhi took to Twitter to lash out at the BJP governments at the Centre and the State and stressed that he will not step back because of stones or black flags that he was shown by crowds while he visited flood affected Dhanera area of the state.
“Narendra Modi Ji ke naaron se, kale jhandon se aur patharon se hum peechhe hatne wale nahi hai, hum apni puri takat logon ki madad karne mein lagayenge,” Mr Gandhi posted on Twitter.
Following the incident that attracted widespread condemnation, Gujarat’s Deputy CM Nitin Patel said the police would lodge an FIR and added that Mr. Gandhi had refused to use a bulletproof car offered by the state and instead preferred to travel in a private SUV.
After a series of tweets accusing the Congress leader of photo opportunity with flood affected people, Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani also condemned the attack and said, ‘I condemn the unfortunate attack on Rahul Gandhi’s convoy. I have instructed officers to take strict action against those responsible.”
Earlier, Mr. Rupani described the Congress leader as a “perpetual tourist” and asked why Congress legislators were away in a resort in Bengaluru when people of their constituencies were hit by the worst floods.
Meanwhile, the incident triggered strong reactions from the Congress leaders, who blamed the state BJP government for lapse in Mr Gandhi’s security during his brief visit to meet the flood affected people in the district.
“Political violence has no place in a functioning democracy,” said former Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, condemning the attack on Mr. Gandhi’s car.
According to sources, untoward incidents during Mr. Gandhi’s visit were anticipated as the BJP government and party leaders have been cashing in on the absence of five Congress legislators, who are away in Bengaluru. The party has taken all its MLAs to Bengaluru ahead of the high-stake Rajya Sabha battle in which party stalwart Ahmed Patel is a nominee.
“To hide their failures, the BJP leaders including ministers had been trying to instigate people against the Congress party MLAs, who had to leave the state to escape BJP’s money and muscle power,” said Gujarat Congress President Bharatsinh Solanki.