Sacked Water Minister Kapil Mishra's "satyagraha" fast to protest corruption in the AAP was on Wednesday marked by high drama as he was slapped by a young man. More drama erupted over the the assailant's affiliation with both AAP and BJP terming him an activist of the rival party.
The man identified himself as an Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) worker but the party firmly denied any links with him. As police revealed name of the man as Ankit Bhardwaj, both AAP and Bharatiya Janata Party clashed over his political affiliation. Police officials said that Bhardwaj, who was caught by Mishra's supporters after the attack, had been detained and kept at Civil Lines Police Station.
AAP insisted that Ankit Bhardwaj, the man was in police custody, was a office-bearer of the BJP's youth wing. But hours later another Ankit Bhardwaj of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BYJM) came at BJP's Delhi office with party leaders stating that he was their office-bearer and they had no links with the man in police custody. BJYM "office-bearer" Bhardwaj also interacted with the media and accused AAP of hatching a conspiracy to defame the BJP.
Mishra, who began his hunger strike Wednesday morning at his residence demanding that AAP government release details of funds of foreign travels of five of its leaders, alleged he has been receiving "death threats from international numbers". Mishra was first removed as a Delhi minister and later suspended from the AAP after he levelled corruption allegations against Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.
Mishra said on Wednesday that he will not eat anything till Kejriwal "reveals" who funded foreign trips of five AAP leaders - Sanjay Singh, Ashish Khetan, Satyendar Jain, Raghav Chadhha and Durgesh Pathak - in the last two years. He also wrote an open letter to Kejriwal.
As Mishra's fast progressed, a man from among the crowd slapped him in the evening, shouting: "He (Mishra) has betrayed the party." The attacker was nabbed by Mishra's supporters and handed over to police. Mishra said: "The man suddenly attacked me and hit me on my neck before he was caught by the people here" and appealed to his supporters to remain calm.
Before being taken away by police, the man claimed he is of the AAP, but party leader Sanjay Singh, however, said they had received information that Ankit Bharadwaj "is an executive member of the BJYM". He said that Ankit Bharadwaj has pictures with several BJP leaders like its former Delhi chief Satish Upadhyay and Union Minister Vijay Sampla.
"It is a conspiracy of BJP to tarnish AAP's image and destabilise the party," Singh said, adding that his party "condemns" the attack. Earlier in the day, he had also termed Mishra's allegations about funding of foreign trips as speaking "BJP's language" and was "false" allegations. Soon after, Praveen Shankar Kapoor, media in-charge of Delhi BJP, said that no BJP Yuva Morcha worker was involved in any such incident. The BJP condemned the attack.
Mishra spent the day under a tent set up in the premises of his official bungalow, with a garlanded portrait of Mahatma Gandhi in the background. He has to vacate the government house in 60 days. He had on Tuesday filed a graft complaint with the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) against Kejriwal, his relatives and other AAP leaders.