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TV debate turns bloody as BJP,Congress workers clash

In West Delhi,the Lok Sabha candidates for Bharatiya Janata Party and Congress,Jagdish Mukhi and Mahabal Mishra,had till now refrained from personal attacks.

Written by Ayesha Arvind | New Delhi |
May 1, 2009 2:53:25 am

In West Delhi,the Lok Sabha candidates for Bharatiya Janata Party and Congress,Jagdish Mukhi and Mahabal Mishra,had till now refrained from personal attacks. But that changed on Thursday,when a face-off organised by television news channel Delhi Aaj Tak between Mukhi and Mishra took an ugly turn after supporters of both the parties attacked each other.

One of Mishra’s supporters allegedly stabbed BJP’s Najafgarh district vice-president Sunil Jindal. Jindal sustained injuries on his arms and is undergoing treatment at the Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital.

The incident occurred around 3 pm at the Le Meridien Hotel.

Mukhi later told mediapersons that a debate on water supply heated up and soon Mishra’s supporters climbed on to the stage and created a ruckus. “Instigated by Mishra,they started attacking my party workers. One of them brought a knife from the hotel’s kitchen and attacked Jindal. On his way out,Mishra even threatened me in the presence of the media and the audience,” he said.

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Leader of Opposition in the Delhi Assembly V K Malhotra termed the incident as “unfortunate” and said he hoped the police would take appropriate action. “The party will let the law take its course and we hope the police will conduct a fair investigation,” he said.

In another incident,Nirmala Sharma (62),an Independent candidate from the West Delhi seat,alleged that she was attacked by Mahabal Mishra and his party workers in the Khyala area on Thursday. Sharma alleged that she saw Mishra and his party worker Dhuli Chand Lohiya distributing money among residents. When she called the police,both allegedly attacked her. “I was accompanied by a group of five to seven women on my way to a meeting. As we reached Vishnu Garden around 11.30 am,we saw the Congress leaders distributing money. As I was calling the police,Mishra started abusing me. His men attacked us and also broke the windows of our car. Mishra then threatened to kill me,” she added.

Mishra denied both incidents. He said he was at home all morning and hence Sharma’s allegations were “baseless”. Reacting to Mukhi’s charges,Mishra said: “I did not attack anybody. It fact,my supporters were attacked by BJP workers during the debate,” he said. “I will go to the police and the Election Commission to counter the ‘misinformation campaign’ launched by the BJP,” Mishra added.

While an FIR has been registered against Mishra and Lohiya on Sharma’s complaint,the police are yet to register a case in the Le Meridien incident. Officials at the Parliament Street police station said the statements of Sunil Jindal and Mukhi had been recorded. “We have asked the news channel to send us the footage,” said an officer.

About the Khyala incident,DCP (West) Sharad Aggarwal said: “We have informed the returning officer about the incident. Counter cases have been lodged for causing hurt and damaging property.” He said the police had so far found no substantial evidence to prove the allegation of distributing money.

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