The temporary office of the Congress set up in a tent was burnt by some unidentified persons in Pandesara area in Surat late on Sunday night, police said. Three bikes parked outside the tent were also set on fire.
Rakesh Mishra, a trader and Congress worker, who had given his house to the Congress to put up the local election office, lodged a complaint at the Pandesara police station Monday morning about the arson. Mishra stated that the party had opened its temporary office outside his house in Avirbhav society at Pandesara for the upcoming municipal corporation elections.
“Late Sunday night, when all the Congress workers left, three unknown motorbike-borne youths poured some inflammable liquid at different places in the tent and set it on fire. They also burnt three parked bikes,” the complaint said.
The incident came to light late in the night, and Mishra immediately called fire brigade officials and police.
Several people tried to douse the fire before the fire brigade’s arrival. The fire officials doused the fire in half hour, Mishra said.
The Surat city Congress president Hasmukh Desai said, “The fire erupted in ward no. 27 Congress office. At present it is difficult to say anything. Let the police carry out investigations. We suspect that this might be aimed to threaten the Congress candidates given the huge support the party is getting.”
Pandesara police inspector N R Gohil said, “We suspect that some notorious elements are behind the incident. The CCTV cameras fixed outside a general store behind the Congress office were also burnt and damaged. The accused might have done that intentionally. We have started taking statements of the Congress leaders and workers who were taking care of the office, to find out clues.”
Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee leader Arjun Modhwadia said, “At this moment it is not good to point finger at opponent party, let the police investigate the case and pick up the actual culprits who had burnt the Congress office and bikes. We wish that police should investigate the case freely and fairly.”