The Congress on Friday urged the Election Commission to immediately provide security to Patidar leader Hardik Patel, hours after he was slapped by a man who alleged Patel was playing politics with the sentiments of the community.
The man, identified as Tarun Gajjar from Kadi town in North Gujarat, climbed up the stage and slapped him.
He was overpowered by Congress workers who thrashed him and took him away from the venue of the rally. Gajjar was detained by the police who also took him to a nearby hospital for first-aid treatment.
He said: "Hardik Patel was exposed as making personal political capital on the sentiments and aspirations of the Patidars and this is why he is inviting the anger of the people, which should not be attributed to the BJP."
Gajjar is believed to be close to Gujarat's Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel. IANS has a soft copy of an invite sent by Gajjar to mediapersons for a function which was to be attended by Nitin Patel in 2015.
Stating that Patel was a "star campaigner of the party" who travels across the country, the Congress sought the Commission's direction to the state and Central governments to restore the Y Category security cover provided to Patel earlier which had been withdrawn "for reasons best known to the state government".
The Congress urged the Commission to ask the Crime Branch police to expedite inquiry into the complaint, which was not being acted upon probably on instructions from the state actors.
Patel, who launched his agitation in 2015, joined the Congress last month and has emerged as a star campaigner for the opposition party, which has allotted him a helicopter to tour Gujarat and hold election rallies.
On Thursday, he had to cancel his helicopter ride to Lunawada in Mahisagar district in central Gujarat when farmer Vinay Patel on whose field the helicopter was to land refused permission on the same reason that Hardik Patel was "playing politics over those killed".
Patel later travelled by road to Lunawada, some 100 km from Ahmedabad for his rally.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)