Former Cabinet minister Kapil Mishra, who was suspended after making allegations of corruption against Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kerjiwal, was attacked on Wednesday, hours after he began his hunger strike demanding that the AAP disclose details regarding the funds used for their foreign trips.
The attacker, identified as Ankit Bhardwaj, arrived at the protest site in the evening. At the time, Mishra was lying on the floor, surrounded by some of his supporters and media persons. The two allegedly had a brief argument, following which he repeatedly slapped Mishra, police said.
While Mishra’s team claimed that the attacker was a member of the AAP, the party has denied his involvement with the ruling party. AAP leader Sanjay Singh told the press, “He is part of the Bharatiya Yuva Morcha…We don’t support violence of any kind.”
Police, meanwhile, haven’t confirmed the accused’s involvement or membership with any party.
Mishra had turned up for the protest — which he termed as “satyagraha” or a “peaceful agitation” — in the morning stating that he would drink only water and nothing else until Kejriwal responds.
The protest was taking place inside a tent, pitched near what used to be Mishra’s office until he was sacked. At the site was a garlanded photograph of Mahatma Gandhi.
“I’m sitting on a satyagraha till I get clarification on details of international travel expenses of some senior AAP leaders. It is not a dharna but a satyagraha. I would like to send a message to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to put out the details of the foreign tours of his five leaders — Satyendar Jain, Ashish Khetan, Raghav Chaddha, Sanjay Singh and Durgesh Pathak — in public domain,” Mishra told reporters.
Meanwhile, Mishra had also issued an open letter, challenging the AAP chief to contest elections against him, from his seat at Karawal Nagar.
“You are trying to remove me from the Assembly, I challenge you to contest elections against me from any seat. Let’s fight the election from my Karawal Nagar seat or even your New Delhi seat. If you believe that people are with you, then I’m ready to resign,” he had said.
Government officials, meanwhile, maintained that Mishra has 60 days to vacate the government bungalow, allotted to him as a minister.
While the BJP and the Congress have latched on to Mishra’s allegations, one AAP leader said, “He (Mishra) is taking the tools of protest that we had used, and then attacking the party that he has grown with. He is nothing more than a turncoat and should be ignored.”
However, Mishra continued his assault on the AAP top leadership. On Tuesday, Mishra had filed three complaints with the CBI — first on the alleged cash deal between Satyendar Jain and Arvind Kejriwal, second on how Jain has benefited close relatives of Arvind Kejriwal in illegal land deals, and the third FIR on illegal use of funds on foreign tours by senior party leaders.
Mishra has also alleged that he has received threatening phone calls, something that the AAP has dismissed as “wild and baseless allegations.”