A scuffle broke out at Congress leader Hardik Patel's public meeting in Ahmedabad on Saturday. A video, which was shared by news agency ANI, shows chairs are being tossed around. However, News Nation can not independently verify the video. It's not clear yet how the scuffle broke out.
The incident came a day after Patel was slapped by a man when he was addressing a poll rally in a village in Surendranagar district of Gujarat. An angry Patel blamed the BJP for the incident and said this was an attempt to kill him.
However, ruling party leaders said they have nothing to do with the incident, which they termed as a staged drama by the Congress to gain sympathy ahead of the Lok Sabha polls.
The man, identified as Tarun Gajjar, a resident of Kadi town of Mehsana district, suffered injuries after he was thrashed by Congress workers, Patel supporters and others at the rally venue, around 130km from Ahmedabad.
Gajjar said he is not associated with any political party and slapped the Patidar quota leader due to personal reasons. As soon as Hardik Patel started his speech at Baldana village under Wadhwan taluka, Gajjar suddenly came on the stage and slapped him.
The incident was captured in cameras of news channels covering the event in the district, around 130km from here.
Congress candidate for the Surendranagar Lok Sabha seat, Soma Patel, was present on the dais when Patel was slapped.
In a video of the incident, Gajjar can be seen being mercilessly thrashed by both women and men, who also tore his cloths, before policemen intervened and took him away. Following the incident, Patel lodged a complaint with the police.
"Since Gajjar was brutally thrashed by people, he was referred to a hospital in Limbdi town. It is still unclear why he slapped Hardik.
"The Congress leader claimed he does not know Gajjar. We have taken Hardik's written complaint and started our investigation, but not yet filed an FIR," said Jethi, adding the police were yet to question the attacker.
Talking to the media from his hospital bed, Gajjar said he has been planning to attack Patel since the last three -and-a-half years due to personal reasons.
"I am not associated with any political party. I am angry with Hardik since the last three-and-a-half years because my wife and my child had suffered because of him (during the quota agitation of August 2015).
"I was planning to attack him since then," said Gajjar, who is in his mid 30s.
Gajjar said he had tried to attack the 25-year-old politician, who joined the Congress last month, in the past too.
"I first planned to attack Hardik during his rally in Kalol on April 13, but he did not came there. Then, I had planned to attack him at a rally in Balisana on April 17.
"But, I failed at that time. Finally, I got success today. I am not against the Patidar community. I am against Hardik," said Gajjar.
(With PTI inputs)