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3-min read

From Bush to Manmohan to GVL, When Netas Had to Duck

While the attack on BJP's GVL was the first one inside the BJP headquarters, this is not the first time that a national political figures has had to duck flying shoes during public addresses.

News18.com

Updated:April 18, 2019, 3:36 PM IST
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From Bush to Manmohan to GVL, When Netas Had to Duck
Video grab of former US President George W Bush (L) ducking from a shoe during a news conference in Baghdad December 14, 2008. REUTERS/Reuters TV (IRAQ)

New Delhi: GVL Narasimha Rao, BJP MP and party spokesperson, narrowly missed being hit by a shoe flung at him by one of the attendees at a press conference in the capital on Thursday.

Sources said the person who hurled the shoe identified himself as Kanpur resident Dr Shakti Bhargava, but police are yet to officially confirm his identity.

While this may be the first such attack inside the BJP headquarters, this is not the first time that a national political figure has had to duck flying shoes during public addresses.

Thankfully, no leader has so far been injured in such incidents, the frequency of which at one point had forced security agencies to place a virtual ban on shoes at VVIP public events.

Back in December 2008, an Iraqi journalist had hurled both his shoes at George W Bush when the US President was addressing a press conference. Though Bush successfully ducked both the projectiles, the incident had gathered huge media attention and set in motion similar incidents across the world, including in India.

Three senior leaders were at the receiving end of shoe projectiles by April 2009 -- then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, then Home Minister P Chidambaram and then BJP claimant to PM's chair, LK Advani.

The first such incident was reported in early April 2009, when a journalist, Jarnail Singh, threw a shoe at Chidambaram. He was reportedly angered by the CBI giving a clean chit to Congress leader Jagdish Tytler, an accused in the 1984 Sikh riots. The journalist was detained, but eventually let off. Jarnail went on to successfully contest assembly polls on an AAP ticket from Rajouri Garden, though he resigned from the assembly.

In April, another such incident unfolded with then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh while he was addressing a rally in Ahmedabad. The shoe fell way outside the mark. The thrower, an engineering student, was detained by security, but let off as Singh chose to pardon him. The student denied being affiliated to any political party and said he had done it only as a publicity stunt.

LK Advani was addressing a rally in Katni when a former BJP office-bearer hurled a wooden slipper, or ‘khadaun’ at him. The man, identified as Pawas Agarwal, said Advani was a ‘fake Iron Man’ and did not deserve to be the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate.

Then almost a year later, on August 15, 2010, then Jammu & Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah was at the receiving end of a flying shoe during the Independence Day ceremony. The aggressor was a police constable.

Congress president Rahul Gandhi ducked a similar projectile in January 2012, when he was addressing an election rally in Dehradun. "If some people think that throwing a shoe will deter me and force me to run away, then they are mistaken. Rahul Gandhi will not run away," he had said.

In January 2015, former Bihar CM was attacked by a shoe which missed him by a whisker. The incident happened during the 'Janta Darbar' or public meeting which is held by the CM at his residence in Patna.

Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal, who may be publicly the most attacked senior politician, narrowly ducked a shoe thrown at him in April 2016 when a political activist aimed his shoe at him. Kejriwal was announcing round two of the odd-even road rationing scheme.

Ved Prakash Sharma, the shoe thrower, was part of a breakaway faction of the Aam Aadmi Party and alleged that the odd-even scheme was part of a ‘CNG scam’ before he was whisked away. Kejriwal also had ink thrown at him in 2016 and has been slapped during his public rallies twice. The AAP leader also suffered a chilli powder attack in the premises of the Delhi secretariat.

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| Edited by: Nitya Thirumalai
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