Footwear flung at Advani at public meet (Lead)

Bhopal/New Delhi, April 16 (Inditop) The ‘footwear missile’ struck again. This time the target was senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader L.K. Advani, who was going up to podium to address a public meeting in Madhya Pradesh Thursday when a former party office-bearer lobbed a slipper at him.

The man, identified as Pawas Agarwal, threw a ‘khadaun’ or a wooden toe-knob sandal at Advani, saying he was “a fake iron man” and did not deserve to be the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate. The incident took place in Katni district, 350 km from Bhopal.

The sandal missed Advani, but he became the latest target of a series of ‘shoe-throwing’ incidents in the country.

A former Katni district president of the BJP, Agarwal was taken into custody by police.

Agarwal told mediapersons that Advani was “nakli Lauh Purush” (a fake iron man). “He has no ideology. On the one hand he asks for votes in the name of Ram and on the other hand pays obeisance to (Pakistan founder Mohammed Ali) Jinnah,” he said.

The BJP has condemned the incident. “The party has always condemned such acts of showing disrespect to political leaders, irrespective of which outfit the person belongs to. Such tactics are wrong and cannot represent freedom of expression in India,” BJP spokesperson Sidharth Nath Singh told IANS.

Rival Congress was quick to react. Party general secretary Arvind Malviya said in Bhopal: “It was the result of the BJP’s doublespeak and its intention to exploit public sentiments in the name of religion.”

Earlier this month, Home Minister P. Chidambaram and Congress MP Naveen Jindal were also targeted by people who expressed their anger by throwing footwear at these politicians.