Aam Aadmi Party leader and former Delhi law minister Somnath Bharti was thrashed allegedly by BJP supporters during filming of a television show in Varanasi on Wednesday, news channel visuals showed. The attackers could be seen wearing BJP caps.
“I was invited to a TV show where Modi supporters raised slogans and attacked me... Has Modi already started his bloodshed one day before his nomination? Are his supporters such violent people?” ANI quoted Bharti as saying after the assault.
The AAP leader’s car and his driver were also attacked. After getting first aid, Bharti went to a nearby police station to register a complaint.
Read: Arvind Kejriwal slapped, urges workers not to react
Watch: Somnath Bharti being attacked
AAP's Varanasi coordinator Ramanand Rai said others were injured in the attack too. “Somnath Bharti went to Assi ghat for an election-related programme arranged by a channel where BJP supporters took objections to the statements made by him. Although AAP volunteers tried to pacify BJP workers, they assaulted Bharti who suffered minor injuries. They also used abusive language. Two AAP volunteers were also hurt in the melee."
Reacting to the reports of assault on Bharti, BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad said: “We do not promote any violence.”
AAP convener Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday filed his nomination papers from the temple town for the most-watched contest of this election, while attacking Narendra Modi and Rahul Gandhi for their “helicopter democracy”.
This is not the first time AAP and BJP workers clashed. Last week in Varanasi, AAP activists had an altercation with volunteers of the BJP when Kejriwal's car was allegedly stopped by BJP workers.
Read: AAP's Kumar Vishwas cries threat to life
Clashes broke out between workers of the two parties in half-a-dozen towns across the country earlier in March, hours after Kejriwal was briefly detained by police in a north Gujarat town.
Bharti was widely criticised for his role in a midnight raid of a home, housing Ugandan women, in south Delhi’s Khirki Extension in February. Then law minister, Bharti had raided the area after complaints by residents about the 'illegal' activities of people of African descent and ordered the police to take action. The police's refusal had resulted in an unprecedented political stand-off between the AAP-led Delhi government and the Centre.
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