PunjabPolls | Shoe hurled at Punjab CM during election campaign; Sikh radicals suspected

badal

A shoe was hurled at Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, 89, during an election campaign at Ratta Khera village in his assembly constituency, Lambi, in Muktsar district on Wednesday afternoon, leaving him injured in the eye. Eyewitnesses said Badal’s eye bled as his spectacles broke with the impact of the hit; and he was immediately escorted out of the venue.

The shoe-thrower was arrested and identified as Gurbachan Singh, reportedly a relative of Sikh radical leader Amrik Singh Ajnala. “He (Gurbachan) appeared to be upset over the sacrilege incidents which took place in Punjab,” said Muktsar Senior Superintendent of Police, Dhruman H. Nimbale.

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 poll.”

As per the release by his office, Badal said the person behind the incident is not even from Lambi. Police said he belongs to Jhurd Khera village near Abohar in Fazilka district.

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 on flames again and push the youth of Punjab back into the jaws of bloodshed and confrontation from which the people of the state have emerged after unspeakable sacrifices,” Badal said. These desperate elements, he said, have the backing of “our political rivals” who are increasingly turning desperate.

While CM Badal urged his party members to maintain peace, his daughter-in-law and Union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal accused AAP MP Bhagwant Mann of encouraging voters to turn violent. Harsimrat also said that “if chief minister Parkash Singh Badal told workers of our party (Shiromani Akali Dal or SAD) to turn violent, AAP workers will not stay alive.”

The SSP said the CM was just getting up after completing his address when a shoe was hurled.