A Congress protest in Shimla took a fiery turn on Monday when some party workers accidentally set themselves on fire while burning an effigy of Prime Minister Narendra Modi after an eager participant lit a match as petrol was still being poured on the rag figurine. The protest resumed shortly thereafter.
Congress sources said the clothes of a few people caught fire in the melee. Two party workers suffered minor burn injuries and one of them identified as Manoj Adhikari had to be rushed to hospital where he was said to be out of danger.
The protest was led by Himachal Congress chief Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu over alleged vendetta politics being pursued by the Modi-led NDA government at the Centre. Similar protests held elsewhere in the state passed without incident.
Sukhu said the NDA government had a malicious agenda against his party as government leaders were working under the slogan “Congress Mukt Bharat (Congress-free India)” announced by Modi in the run-up to the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
“And to follow the BJP’s petty vendetta politics, a completely misconceived private complaint was instituted by Subramanian Swamy, a member of the BJP’s central committee, which is aimed at sensationalism, political revenge and a shoddy attempt to malign the Congress party leadership,” he said.