Hours before polling for the second phase of Gujarat Assembly polls began on Monday, Congress sitting MLA Kanti Kharadi from Scheduled Tribes reserved Danta seat in Banaskantha district in North Gujarat claimed that he was assaulted by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate Ladhu Parghi.
“I was going to my voters. BJP candidate Ladhu Parghi along with L K Barad and his brother Vadan ji were amongst those who attacked us. They were carrying weapons with them and attacked me with swords,” Kanti Kharadi said while talking to ANI.
Kharadi further claimed that while his convoy was passing through Bamodara four-way when he was going to meet his voters, the BJP candidate blocked his way. “After that, we decided to return, then more people came and attacked us on that side,” he said.
Kharadi claimed that BJP candidate Ladhu Parghi along with L K Barad and his brother Vadan ji were amongst those who attacked his convoy with swords and other weapons.
“Whatever happened is unfortunate. I was going to my area as there’s an election. I saw that the atmosphere was heated there so I decided to escape,” he said, adding, “we ran for 10-15 km and for two hours we were in the jungle.”
Posting a tweet, Congress MP Rahul Gandhi earlier alleged, “Congress tribal leader and Danta Assembly candidate, Kantibhai Kharadi was brutally attacked by BJP goons and is now missing.”
Danta is a seat reserved for Scheduled Tribe communities and Kharadi from Congress and Ladhubhai Parghi from BJP are in the fray for the seat.
The seat goes for polls Monday along with 92 other state constituencies in the second and final phase.
Kanti Kharadi said that he saved his life from “BJP goons” by running about 15 km in the dark of the night.
Accusing the Election Commission officers of not taking his letter seriously regarding the apprehension of the attack, Kharadi said, “I had written a letter four days back but no action has been taken. If the Commission had taken action, this attack would not have happened.”
Kharadi who is a Congress MLA for the last ten years, said that the BJP candidate had also warned him earlier that party leaders should not come to campaign in the area.
“They did so because a large number of people gathered in Danta in support of the Congress,” he asserted.
However, further investigation is underway.
Earlier on Sunday late at night, Congress working president and incharge of Banaskantha district for the party Jignesh Mevani alleged that Kharadi was attacked by the BJP goons fearing the party’s defeat.
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