New Delhi: Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Saturday blamed the BJP and the RSS for an attack on his convoy a day earlier in Gujarat’s flood-hit Dhanera town.
“A BJP worker flung a big stone in my direction. It hit my PSO (Personal Security Officer). It’s the Modi, BJP and RSS way of doing politics. Why more can I say…. Why would they condemn it when they are behind it,” Gandhi said.
On Friday, the Congress leader had to cut short his address to a gathering at Lal Chowk area of Dhanera in Banaskantha district as black flags were waved at him by some of those who turned up for the meeting.
The glass pane at the rear of the car, in which Rahul was seated on his way to the helipad in Dhanera from Lal Chowk, was shattered in the attack, a police official said. However, Rahul did not suffer any injury and moved on to his next venue, Runi village in Thara taluka, where he said his party will not be cowed down by stone-pelting.
"Won't step back because of black flags, Narendra Modi slogans or stones," he had said.
"We have detained the man who threw the stone on the vehicle of Rahul Gandhi," Banaskantha Superintendent of Police Neeraj Badgujar said.
"Right from the helipad, police had offered him a bullet proof vehicle. After getting down from the helicopter, he took a bullet-proof vehicle. Later, he got down from that vehicle and took a car of a Congress party worker," the official said.
"Police, convoy marshal, and SPG urged him repeatedly to take a bullet-proof car for sake of security, but he instead took the vehicle provided by the party," he further said. "Police had provided all the security, but he (Rahul Gandhi) was repeatedly stopping the car, even at some sensitive places. He even met unknown people on the way," Badgujar said, indicating that he broke all security protocol.
"We will register an FIR and investigate the case," he said, adding, none was injured in the attack.
The incident sparked immediate protest from the Congress with the party spokesman spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi in New Delhi saying BJP "goons" carried out the "dastardly" attack.
Gujarat Congress chief Bharatsinh Solanki also accused the BJP of carrying out the attack. "Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel says that Rahulji should have traveled in bullet proof car. Which means that if such a tall leader is not safe in Gujarat, then it is for us to understand what will happen to common people," he said.
Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel, who is facing a tough fight in Rajya Sabha elections in the state, said he was “pained” at the development. "I have no words to express my anguish. It appears that administration and government has completely failed. This proves how bad is the law and order situation. Strong action should be taken against officers who are responsible to provide security, they should be suspended," said Patel.
The Congress MLA from the area Joitabhai Patel is in Bengaluru as part of the 44 party legislators who have been flown to the southern city apparently to avoid being "poached" by the BJP ahead of the August 8 Rajya Sabha polls.
The politics in poll-bound Gujarat has been on the boil for quite some time with a section in the Congress led by rebel leader Shankarsinh Vaghela breaking ranks with the party and resignation of half a dozen party MLAs.
The situation heated up after the process for election for three Rajya Sabha seats from Gujarat got underway.
The Congress has fielded Ahmed Patel as its candidate, while the BJP has nominated its president Amit Shah and Union minister Smriti Irani. The ruling party has also put up a Congress rebel as a third candidate.