27/03/2019 10:13 AM IST | Updated 27/03/2019 10:18 AM IST

Black Flags, BJP Workers Clash Greet Ravi Shankar Prasad In Patna

Two groups of BJP workers exchanged blows at the airport.

Hindustan Times via Getty Images

PATNA — BJP candidate from Patna Sahib, Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, who is the BJP nominee from Patna Sahib was on Tuesday shown black flags by alleged supporters of another party leader on his first visit to the city after being announced candidate for the seat.

Prasad was shown black flags by alleged supporters of R K Sinha, a Rajya Sabha member, who was hopeful of a ticket for the seat. It lead to a clash with the party workers who had gathered at the airport to welcome the union minister.

The two groups shoved each other and exchanged blows and were quelled by security personnel deployed at the airport. It was not known if any of them were detained.

The state unit of BJP in a statement later in the day asserted that the protesters had “no past or present relation” with the party and expressed suspicion that they were “hooligans” sent by “vested interest groups in the rival camp” to provoke the party workers who were in a “festive mood”.

The Patna Sahib seat is currently held by dissident MP Shatrughan Sinha, who has often openly criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah.

An embarrassed Prasad before leaving the airport told the waiting newsmen, “I thank my party for considering me for this great responsibility. I will give my best shot. The BJPs commitment to nationalism and good governance will help Narendra Modi return to power”.

RK Sinha is the founder of SIS, which is said to be the largest private security provider in the country. He is claimed to be immensely popular among the Kayastha community to which Prasad and Shatrughan Sinha too belong.

An office-bearer of the Akhil Bharatiya Kayastha Mahasabha had recently issued a statement stating that the community, which has remained steadfastly with the BJP post-Mandal Commission, would not vote for Prasad and that only RK Sinha was acceptable to it as a candidate.

Shatrughan Sinha, who is completing his second consecutive Lok Sabha term, is expected to be fielded as a candidate of the opposition Mahagathbandhan comprising RJD, Congress and other smaller parties from the seat after being inducted into Congress.

The Bihar BJP spokesman Nikhil Anand in a statement said, “We condemn this attempt to create chaos and pandemonium during the welcome of our union minister by some hooligans.

These people have no past or present relationship with BJP and it seems that some groups with vested interests in rival political camp had tried to cause disruption by provoking festive party workers.””

Let them be sure that Ravi Shankar Prasad is going to win the election with a record margin while his rival Shatughan Sinha will be made politically khamosh(silent),” he said using the Bollywood actor’s stock-in-trade expression.