Six Aam Aadmi Party workers were injured in a clash with Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) supporters, who had gatecrashed the rally of Sangrur MP Bhagwant Mann in Malout town, about 32km from here, on Saturday.
Mann was addressing the rally in support of AAP candidate Baldev Singh when a group of SAD workers, who were allegedly already sitting in the gathering, started raising slogans against the MP. When AAP workers confronted them, a clash ensued. Mann had to leave the venue abruptly and couldn’t complete his speech.
Akali, AAP workers pelted each other with stones and police had a tough time in controlling the situation. The SAD workers had also burnt an effigy of Mann before the rally. Later, agitated AAP workers blocked a road and staged a protest in-front of the Malout police station.
Mann said it was a planned attack by Akali Dal workers who were carrying sharp-edged weapons and were already sitting in the gathering when he started his speech. He said Akali workers hurled chairs at him even as he was appealing for maintaining calm.
Mann said he had to skip three rallies on Friday as he had information that Akali workers could create trouble.
Muktsar chief of Akali Dal, Dyal Singh Kolianwali, said he was not aware of the clash as he was visiting villages of Lambi assembly constituency with chief minister Parkash Singh Badal for sangat darshan.
Malout SP Balraj Singh said police were recording the statements of injured AAP workers and a case will be registered. He said of the six injured, one AAP worker was serious.
Mann is under Akali fire ever since he made a statement on Tuesday that the Punjab government was not distributing blue cards, but “beggar cards” to the poor for availing subsidies. When asked if he meant blue-card holders were beggars, he had clarified that Akalis were making beggars out of people by putting them on doles. “Instead of giving people the ability to earn, the Akalis are making them dependent,” Mann had said.