Police rescued ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Parliament member, Sharad Tripathi, as supporters of his fellow party state lawmaker, Rakesh Singh Baghel, gathered to protest against him in Uttar Pradesh’s Sant Kabir Nagar hours after the two came to blows at a meeting on Wednesday.
A purported video earlier showing Tripathi reaching for his shoe, standing up and repeatedly hitting Baghel went viral. The two came to blows after squabbling over a plaque put up for the inauguration of a road.
Tripathi was upset that his name was missing from the plaque in Baghel’s assembly constituency of Mehndawal. The assembly segment comes under Tripathi’s Parliamentarian constituency of Sant Kabir Nagar.
A police officer said Tripathi had to be rescued around midnight as Baghel’s supporters gathered to avenge the attack.
Baghel’s supporters alleged police beat them up with batons and staged a sit-in protest through the night in protest. The demonstration was called off on Thursday morning following Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath and state BJP president Mahendra Nath Pandey’s intervention.
Tripathi and Baghel were summoned to Lucknow as Adityanath and Pandey promised strict action as the Opposition targeted the BJP’s over a lack of discipline in the party. In Lucknow, Adityanath said indiscipline will not be tolerated.
He dismissed the negative fallout of the incident on BJP’s prospects in the national polls due next month. “The BJP will win 74 [out of 80] seats in Uttar Pradesh this time,” he said.
But Tripathi remained defiant and accused Baghel of being involved in illegal activities. “All contracts, including those of sand mining and road construction, are awarded to him or his men as he resorts to pressure tactics. Why is only he getting contracts?” Tripathi asked. “…I will inform the leadership about the illegal activities in which Baghel is involved.”
Baghel, a former member of Adityanath’s Hindu Yuva Vahini, rubbished the allegations as baseless. “You can check with officials that I have never forced them for anything,” he said.
First Published: Mar 08, 2019 00:14 IST