Heavyweight Congress turncoat Yashpal Arya who filed his nomination today as a BJP candidate from Bajpur had a narrow escape during a firing at his public meeting, with Uttarakhand BJP chief Ajay Bhatt claiming it an “attempt on the life” of the leader and his son and an act of retribution by Chief Minister Harish Rawat.
There was a clash between supporters of Kulwinder Singh Kinda and those of Sukhdev Singh Namdhari, the main accused in the Ponty Chadha murder case, at the public meeting held by Arya which triggered a stampede, Udhamsingh Nagar District Magistrate Chandresh Yadav said.
However, no one was gravely hurt except a few of Arya’s supporters who suffered injuries in the stampede, he said.
Eyewitnesses said there were several rounds of firing between the two groups in which Arya and his son had a narrow escape.
Arya said it was an attempt on his life at the behest of the state government. “There is a conspiracy underway to kill me. I was not only fired at. Even my vehicle was pelted with stones,” he alleged, adding he has also urged the state police to provide security to his son Sanjeev Arya, who is the BJP candidate from Nainital.
District Magistrate Chandresh Yadav said the BJP leader had taken permission only for a road show but held a public meeting which may even be a case of violation of the Model of Code of Conduct. “All that is being probed,” he added.
Terming it as an attempt on the life of Arya and his son, BJP state unit president Bhatt said it was an act of vendetta by chief minister Harish Rawat. “It reflects the frustration of Congress and the CM,” he said.
Arya, a former Uttarakhand unit chief of Congress and a minister in Harish Rawat’s cabinet, sprang a surprise earlier this month when he along with his son joined the BJP hours before being announced by the party as its nominees from Bajpur and Nainital, respectively.