PANAJI: Members of the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) clashed in Panaji on Friday during the protest organised by the saffron outfit over the Rafale deal issue. The BJP had organised the march outside the Goa Congress headquarters against the party and its president Rahul Gandhi alleging that they were "misguiding" people of the country on the Rafale fighter jet deal.
Soon after the clashes, workers of both parties filed cross-complaints at the Panaji police station, accusing each other of engaging in violence, assault and intimidation.
— ANI (@ANI) December 22, 2018
Goa BJP president Vinay Tendulkar, general secretary Satish Dhond and ministers Vishwajit Rane and Mauvin Godinho were leading the protest.
The situation turned tense when the Congress, in a sarcastic move, installed banners "welcoming BJP to explain their lies on Rafale deal". The main opposition also stationed its women wing leaders with flowers and snacks in their hands, waiting for BJP protestors.
According to eyewitnesses, Goa Pradesh Mahila Congress Committee president Pratima Coutinho mixed amongst BJP workers under the pretext of serving them snacks. Coutinho, later addressing a press conference, alleged she was "mobbed by BJPs male workers".
She said BJP workers were furious over her gesture and even hurled footwear at her. Goa BJP spokesman Damodar Naik, however, refuted her allegations and accused the Congress of "instigating the peaceful morcha".
"Congress purposely instigated the peaceful morcha which was held to expose their party leaders over the Rafale issue. They wanted to divert the issue that is why they instigated our workers with tricks like distributing snacks and offering flowers," said Naik, a former MLA. He accused Coutinho of spitting water on the face of BJP workers.
Coutinho displayed shoes and sandals which, she claimed, were thrown at her. Showing bruises on her hands, she claimed Mahila Congress workers were attacked by men who were part of the BJP protest. "I would call them goons of BJP. They were not looking like workers of BJP," she said.