New Delhi: The inauguration of Delhi’s Signature Bridge witnessed charged scenes on Sunday as Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari and his supporters clashed with Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) members to protest against the alleged denial of an invitation to the event.
The incident occurred when Tiwari reached the site of the inauguration despite not being extended an invite. The BJP leader had attacked the AAP government on Friday for violating protocol by not calling him for the inauguration.
“In my constituency (North East Delhi), I re-started construction of the bridge after it was stalled for many years and now [Delhi chief minister] Arvind Kejriwal is organising an inauguration ceremony,” Tiwari was quoted as saying by ANI.
He added, "I am MP from here. So what's the problem? Am I a criminal? Why has the police surrounded me? I'm here to welcome him (Kejriwal). AAP and police have misbehaved with me."
Tiwari’s claims of being manhandled got a shot in the arm after a video showing AAP MLA Amanatullah Khan pushing the BJP leader off the stage during the inauguration went viral.
#WATCH Aam Aadmi Party MLA Amanatullah Khan seen pushing Delhi BJP Chief Manoj Tiwari during the inauguration of Delhi's Signature Bridge (Source: BJP Delhi Chief Manoj Tiwari's office) pic.twitter.com/Vl2CtDqeBX— ANI (@ANI) 4 November 2018
Reacting to Tiwari’s charges, Kejriwal said on Twitter: "Unprecedented. Chaos by BJP at Signature Bridge inauguration site. Its a Del govt prog. Police mute spectator. Can LG, being head of Del police, ensure peace and order at Signature bridge inauguration site?"
AAP’s Dilip Pandey also looked to blame the saffron party for the ruckus, saying, “Thousands of people have come here to celebrate without an invitation card, but the MP (Tiwari) considers himself a VIP. He is doing hooliganism. BJP people thrashed AAP volunteers and local people. They are admitted to hospital.”
Deputy CM Manish Sisodia alleged that "obstacles" were raised by the Narendra Modi government so that the Signature Bridge was not completed in the rule of AAP government in Delhi.
"If Modi government had contributed one inch to this bridge, I would myself chant Modi-Modi like those who are showing black flags," he said referring to BJP supporters who were camped nearby along with Manoj Tiwari.
In a direct attack on Tiwari, Sisodia said if he was "so fond of" going to inaugurals then he should work constructively. "It is Modi government's rule that the CM of elected government in Delhi will not be invited to any inaugural function. We deliberately did not invite (Tiwari)," Sisodia said claiming no one from Delhi government was invited to the inauguration of the Skywalk at ITO.
Kejriwal also slammed the Prime Minister, saying the country needs bridges, schools and hospitals not temples and statues for progress. "Four days ago the 182 metre tallest statue of the world was unveiled and today this 154 metre high bridge is being inaugurated. The country has to decide if it needs statues and temples or bridges, schools and hospitals," he said.
The Delhi CM said the thought of Signature Bridge reminded him of the first Prime Minister of the country Jawahar Lal Nehru. "If Nehru had chosen to build temples and statues instead of institutions like BHEL and SAIL, then the country would not have progressed. The country would languish in 15th century if temples and mosques are given preferences over science, technology and research," Kejriwal said.
Meanwhile, Ravindra Yadav, joint commissioner of police, eastern range, said the main function was held smoothly without any disturbance. "Our staff on duty at the place of function performed their task with utmost restraint and diligence. Though there was slogan shouting but police segregated the groups and did not allow any clash or violence to take place," he said.
"The situation was handled very professionally by Delhi Police and not allowed to take an ugly turn," Yadav added.