PM must apologise for attack on Rahul, says Cong leaders

Mumbai: The Maharashtra and Mumbai Congress on Friday strongly condemned the stone throwing at Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi in Gujarat and demanded that Prime Minister Narendra Modi must apologise for it. "I condemn this cowardly act. PM Narendra Modi must apologise to Rahul Gandhi for this uncivilized, undemocratic and cheap gimmick of his party goons," said Mumbai Pradesh Congress Committee President Sanjay Nirupam. In a strong statement, Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee President Ashok Chavan termed it as a display of the "unscrupulousness practiced all over the country" since the BJP came to power at the Centre. "The brutal attack on Gandhi is "a blot on Indian democracy" and asked the government to book the culprits immediately," Chavan said. He pointed out that Gandhi is a national leader and his security was the responsibility of the BJP-led Gujarat government which has deliberately neglected it. "The attack is definitely the handiwork of deranged minds and a display of the unscrupulousness practiced all over the country since the Bharatiya Janata Party government took over," Chavan said sharply. Nirupam said that while Gandhi was sharing the pain of flood victims in Gujarat, BJP goons were protesting against him and pelting stones at him - "Are they afraid of him?", he wondered.  The BJP's policy is to grab power by hook or by crook and using money power, muscle-power, and other undemocratic means to achieve its aims, Chavan added. Senior leader and MLC Sanjay Dutt termed the attack as "BJP's utter desperation and total breakdown of law and order" in the neighbouring state. "BJP's frustrations at the prospect of losing Gujarat (elections) is making them attempt to turn the land of Gandhiji into Godse-land," said Dutt. "The attack on Gandhi in Gujarat today smacks of such and I suspect it is a conspiracy to finish off the opposition in politics. However, the Congress workers and leaders shall not be cowed down and will continue to challenge the ideological fight in full vigour," Chavan said. Several other Congress leaders from Maharashtra and across the country have flayed the attack on Rahul Gandhi during his visit to the flood-devastated Banaskantha district of north-eastern Gujarat on Friday.