The person who slapped Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday evening during a roadshow in Delhi's Moti Nagar was an Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) supporter and used to organise party's meetings, said the Delhi Police. The attacker, identified as Suresh, told the police during interrogation that he is an AAP supporter.
"Preliminary interrogation has revealed that the person Suresh, who is a scrap dealer in the area, has been a supporter of AAP and used to work as organiser of the party's rallies and meetings. As per his version, over a period of time he got disenchanted due to behaviour of its leaders. He got further angry due to distrust of the party in the armed forces," the Delhi Police said in a statement.
"Today, he was wearing a cap (which he later took off) and scarf of AAP, and was in the reception group of the CM. No one objected to him being there as he had been an organiser for the party. He was standing near the front right tyre of the Gypsy. He took off the scarf, climbed the bonnet and attempted to assault the Hon'ble CM. Further interrogation of the person is on," the police added.
The chief minister was slapped by the man during his roadshow in Moti Nagar in the New Delhi constituency, prompting a strong reaction from the AAP which alleged BJP was behind the "cowardly act".
After the statement, the AAP hit back at the Delhi Police, saying "this is the same Delhi Police who had planted earlier that NO MIRCHI attack happened on the CM".
"The Delhi Police planting that man belonged to the AAP - This is really shameful given the fact that wife of the attacker has herself said that attacker was 'Modi Bhakt' and did not like anyone talking against Modi. This is same the Delhi Police who had planted earlier that NO MIRCHI attack happened on the CM. It was later when Delhi Government presented CCTV video, the Delhi Police and it's political masters we were left red faced. This political statement of the police is itself proof that the Delhi Police is doing all this on the orders of the Modi government," the AAP said.
The police said the man has been taken into custody and an investigation into the matter was underway.
Opposition BJP and Congress condemned slapping of Kejriwal, but expressed "doubts" that the incident may be a handiwork of AAP to gain sympathy of voters before the Lok Sabha polls in the city.
Delhi Congress spokesperson Jitender Kochar alleged that the incident was stage-managed by Kejriwal for gaining sympathy of Delhiites.
"The incident is as an old move of Kejriwal to stage-manage attacks on him and then seek public sympathy. But people of Delhi will not succumb to this political manoeuvre by him," he said.
Condemning the incident, Delhi BJP president Manoj Tiwari said his party does not support violence.
"But I have doubts as to why such incidents happen with Kejriwal in election time only. I doubt this incident may have been scripted by Kejriwal himself," he said.
Kejriwal was on an open jeep when the man wearing a red T-shirt jumped onto the vehicle and slapped him.
DCP (West) Monika Bhardwaj said the man has been identified as Suresh, 33, and he deals in spare parts in Kailash Park area.
Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia slammed the BJP after the incident.
"Do Modi and Amit Shah want Kejriwal to be murdered?" he tweeted. The AAP leader said the BJP could not break the morale of Kejriwal and not defeat him in elections in five years despite putting in all its might.
"Now you want him removed from your way like this. You cowards! This Kejriwal is your end," he said in a tweet in Hindi.
This is the second time Kejriwal has been slapped in a public rally. He had also been attacked with ink and spices earlier.