A protester hurled a shoe at Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, 89, injuring him in the eye during an election campaign at Ratta Khera village in his assembly constituency, Lambi, in Muktsar district on Wednesday. Eyewitnesses said Badal’s spectacles broke with the impact of the hit and there was minor bleeding. The chief minister was immediately escorted out of the venue.
This is the second attack on the Badals in four days. On Sunday, protesters had hurled stones at deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal’s cavalcade in Jalalabad in which four persons were hurt.
The SSP said the Badal was just getting up after completing his address when the shoe was hurled. It first hit a security personnel and then got deflected towards the CM.
Unfazed by the incident, Badal continued his canvassing and addresses gatherings at Chhappeanwali and Kolianwali villages in Malout.
In a statement later, Badal said the incident proved “beyond doubt” that Akali Dal’s political rivals had “lost the game” and wanted to “scuttle a peaceful, free and fair polls.”
Badal’s statement also said that “as father figure in the state,” he would “continue to walk the path of patience, peace and communal harmony”. “Behind such incidents are people who want to set Punjab in flames again,” Badal said. These desperate elements, he said, have the backing of “our political rivals” who are increasingly turning desperate.
An hour after the incident, a video clipping went viral on social media that showed Gurbachan’s cousin Kulwant Singh saying the act was a mark of protest against sacrilege incidents in the state last year.
“Gurbachan was also present at Bargari during the protests against the sacrilege incidents last year,” Kulwant said.
AAP candidate from Lambi Jarnail Singh, who had hurled at Congress leader P Chidambaram in 2009, on Wednesday referred to the Rattan Khera village incident during his rally at Manna village. “You go and see for yourself what has happened at Rattan Khera?” Jarnail said.
“It’s the ‘goonda raj’, sacrilege of Guru Granth Sahib and drug addiction, which has made people of Punjab so angry. But I appeal to them to channelise their anger through votes,” Jarnail later told HT.
Sources said the shoe-thrower was present at a rally addresses by Jarnail Singh in Ratta Khera village on Tuesday.
At the rally, Jarnail, a former scribe, had explained why he had hurled a shoe at Chadambaram.