GANDHINAGAR -- Shoes were today hurled at Gujarat Home minister Pradipsinh Jadeja outside the state Assembly building when he was about to address the media.
Shouting "down with corruption", a man identified as Gopal Italia launched the projectiles at a surprised Jadeja but missed his target. He was then overpowered and taken away by police personnel.
A police official said the man was "mentally unstable" and claimed to be a government employee.
The incident happened during the recess hour of the ongoing Budget session when Jadeja came to address the media near the public entry gate of the state Assembly premises.
Gandhinagar Range IG R B Brahmbhatt said Italia has been detained for questioning and preliminary investigation has revealed that he is "mentally unstable and frustrated".
"A man named Gopalbhai, aged around 30 years, walked up to Minister of State for Home Pradipsinh Jadeja when he was preparing to address the press, and hurled shoes at him. He works as a clerk at Dhandhuka (Ahmedabad district) SDM office," Brahmbhatt said.
"We have taken him for questioning, and preliminary investigation reveals that he is mentally unstable and frustrated for reasons that are not clear yet. We will take action against him after questioning," he added.
While being taken away by police, Italia told media that the attack was on the "dictatorship and arrogance" of the state government.
"Government is bent on dictatorship. I am a government employee, and I am angry at the government's way of dealing with issues like unemployment, corruption, and prohibition. I am angry and like a common man, I have thrown shoes at the government's arrogance," he said.
The ruling BJP was quick to point fingers at opposition Congress for the incident.
"I condemn the way Congress is creating anarchical situation in the state. It is not the right way to oppose, and I want this to be properly investigated as I believe it is Congress which is behind all this. In a democracy, we have every right to put forth our demands, but this is not the way to do so," State BJP President Jitu Vaghani said.
Congress condemned the attack, and said that public should rather use elections to express their anger and frustration rather than hurling shoes or ink at leaders.
"People are angry at the government. The ruling BJP has created a situation in which people feel tortured, but I would request people to not take such a step and rather use election as a platform to express their anger and frustration," senior Congress leader Shaktisinh Gohil said.
Incidentally, Italia is the same person who was arrested by Ahmedabad crime branch around a month back for calling up Deputy Chief minister Nitin Patel while posing as a police constable.
There is a purported audio clip of their conversation in which Italia, identifying himself as Gopal Patel -- constable with Madhavpura police station, is heard telling the minister that the recent ordinance to strengthen liquor prohibition law has failed to serve its purpose, and this has only increased the price of liquor in the state.
When Patel asked him in the purported phone call to work hard to ensure that prohibition law is properly implemented, Italia replied that his seniors are not allowing him to perform his duty properly.
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