BJP not condemning Kejriwal attack: New low in Indian politics?

Even as BJP calls it orchestrated and AAP a conspiracy, there is little doubt that the slap on Arvind Kejriwal is a blot on India's democracy. As India is in the process of electing its 16th Lok Sabha, incidents such as the repeated attacks on AAP leaders only take away the focus from the actual issues for which the MPs are sent to Parliament.

"It is happening too often. It happened in Varanasi and Delhi. I am surprised that no one is even raising a question. No one in the media or political parties condemned the attack. We believe it is a conspiracy," AAP spokesperson Atishi Marlena told CNN-IBN during a panel discussion.

AAP convener Arvind Kejriwal. Naresh Sharma/Firstpost

AAP convener Arvind Kejriwal. Naresh Sharma/Firstpost

Unwilling to accept it as a pure attack, the BJP however stuck to its stand that it was all stage managed by AAP to allow Kejriwal more media space.

"It is a manufactured slapped. Fashion designed ink spots also do not deserve sympathy. They are creating a drama to stay in the air. The BJP does not support violence but these are self-imposed flagellation. Kejriwal's popularity is dipping and just before the elections he needed the oxygen of dharna. In fact, the kind of gimmickry that AAP has brought in should be condemned," BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said.

Reacting to the stand taken by the BJP, Marlena said, "BJP's refusal to condemn is a covert encouragement to violence. It is encouraging BJP workers to resort to violence."

Notwithstanding the aggressive tone of the BJP or its ideological differences with the AAP, the Congress said that the attacks on the AAP leader were wrong.

"There is no reason to believe that it was stage managed. Had it been stage managed or conspiracy it will come out soon after a proper investigation. Arvind Kejriwal is a senior leader and he does not deserve this. Today it is a slap and tomorrow it can be something else. It can be very dangerous. The Congress condemns it. The BJP should condemn it unequivocally as well. This can happen to anyone from any party," Congress spokesperson Salman Anees Soz said.

When reminded by the BJP spokesperson of the recent remarks on Modi by Congress leader Imran Masood, Soz said," We are diametrically opposed to Modi ideologically, but we also don't condone the words used by our party member against the BJP prime ministerial candidate."

AAP party activist Captain Gopinath also felt that the BJP should condemn the incident without any clauses.

"This kind of violence is condemnable. There has to be a proper investigation and a good punishment so that this does not happen again. It is very uncharitable by the BJP spokesperson not to condemn it," he said.

Author Chetan Bhagat, who was also one of the panelists while condemning the violence questioned the forgiving nature of Kejriwal.

"Violence is totally wrong and I condemn it. Why forgive the attacker? Why not punish him? If he had broken the law he should be taken to task as per law. The guy committed a mistake and he should have been prosecuted," Bhagat said.

Dwelling on the reasons that might have probably led to this incident, he said, "AAP never thought they will get a chance to form the government and they over promised. AAP should realise that there is a section of the people who are upset with AAP. People won't forget the broken promises."

"Moreover, Arvind Kejriwal comes out too much in the open and thus becomes vulnerable. He should have taken security. Otherwise these incidents take away the attention from the really important issues," he said.

But according to columnist Pushpesh Pant, the entire incident is a warning sign of the violent mentality that is creeping into the Indian mindset.

"It is really getting distressing and shocking. By condemning it BJP won't suffer from any electoral loss. If they do not they might suffer from loss of credibility," Pant said.