Varanasi: The Aam Aadmi Party has alleged that two of its volunteers were beaten up late on Monday night by BJP workers in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, where the party’s chief Arvind Kejriwal has challenged the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi in the general elections.
The BJP has promised action if at all its workers were involved, but has also suggested that the AAP volunteers may have provoked an argument that led to a fight.
The Varanasi police said AAP volunteers Nandan Mishra and Ankit Lal had an argument last night with some people who wore BJP badges at the Assi Ghat in the temple town, which later turned into a brawl. They have registered a complaint against unknown people.
The BJP’s Nalin Kohli told NDTV this morning, “We appeal to all supporters and the public not to get into any physical altercation… If a worker is involved, we will take strict action.”
He also added, “All people who wear BJP badges are not party workers.”
“Nandan Mishra, the guitarist of Play4Change campaign is in hospital now, bleeding bcz of attack. From Varanasi. (sic),” AAP tweeted on Monday night. Play4Change is a musical election campaign that AAP takes from city to city.
Sometime later, Mr Mishra, with a bruised nose and a nostril plugged, said he was kicked and punched. “After campaigning, I stopped to drink water at a nearby shop. There was a group of BJP workers. On seeing us they argued. One of them came and started beating me. There were around 15-20 people,” he said.
Ankit Lal said their alleged attackers had criticised AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal and when the AAP workers objected, assaulted them.
Nalin Kohli said, “There are equal reports that AAP people instigate and this leads to heated arguments sometimes. We have even said they should seek police protection but AAP’s track record has been that of sensationalism.”
Varanasi votes on May 12.