National Conference (NC) leader Nasir Aslam Wani denied on Wednesday hitting a party worker after a video surfaced allegedly showing him kicking a colleague at an NC convention.
Wani, considered a close aide of chief minister Omar Abdullah, allegedly kicked a supporter of former Congress leader Sheikh Ishfaq Jabbar who joined the NC last year. Jabbar’s supporters were demanding the party pick their leader as a candidate for the assembly polls this year.
"I will not deny that there was a scuffle, but I did not hit anyone. I have not hit anyone in the 16 years of my political career,” Wani, the party’s provincial president in Jammu and Kashmir, told reporters. “There was a lot of chaos during the meeting. I, like an elder brother, tried to pacify the two groups. In that process, I might have swung my leg but there was no physical contact.”
A witness told HT on condition of anonymity that two factions of party workers were shouting slogans and were engaged in a brawl at the event in Ganderbal district when Wani stepped down from the podium and started kicking one of the workers.
The NC has decided its candidates for 50 assembly seats but is yet to announce a nominee for the Ganderbal constituency represented by Omar Abdullah.
A similar scene was witnessed during the Lok Sabha poll campaign, when Jammu and Kashmir minister for higher education Muhammad Akbar Lone slapped a man at a chief minister’s rally in Baramulla district.
“We are not surprised by the arrogance in the NC culture. Even after such a crushing defeat in the Lok Sabha polls, they have not turned humble,” said Tariq Hameed Karra, Srinagar MP for the PDP, the principal opposition party in the state.