Surendranagar, Gujarat: Congress leader Hardik Patel, who on Friday was slapped while addressing a gathering in Gujarat's Surendranagar, accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of "trying to attack and kill him."
"BJP is trying to attack and kill me the same way Haren Pandya was murdered and fake encounters were done," Hardik was quoted by news agency ANI as saying.
Haren Pandya was a former home minister of Gujarat. He was murdered in 2003 in Ahmedabad.
On Friday, as soon as Hardik started his speech, a man, visibly angry, suddenly came on the stage and slapped him. He was later beaten and taken away from the venue.
— ANI (@ANI) April 19, 2019
Meanwhile, Hardik also alleged that the man who slapped him is "connected to BJP leaders."
"You can see it on his Facebook profile," he added. Hardik had lodged a complaint at the Wadhvan police station.
The police have however clarified that Tarun Gajjar, the man who hit Hardik, is not related to any party. "The man is not affiliated to any party, he is a common man. Law is taking its own course," Mahendra Baghedia, Superintendent of Police Surendranagar, said.
After the incident, Gajjar said that he was waiting to teach Hardik a lesson since the Patidar agitation started.
In a statement to ANI, Gajjar said that during the agitation, his wife was pregnant and undergoing treatment at a hospital and he had to face problems because of that and also recalled another incident which had further triggered his anger.
"My wife was pregnant when Patidar agitation happened, she was undergoing treatment at a hospital, I had faced problems then, I had decided then, I'll hit this man. I have to teach him a lesson anyhow. Then again during his rally in Ahmedabad when I had gone to get medicine for my child, everything was shut down. He shuts down the roads, he shuts down Gujarat whenever he wants to. What is he? Gujarat's Hitler?" said Gajjar.
The Congress has written to the Election Commission demanding to restore Y+ security for Hardik.