Now a shoe aimed at PM; Manmohan forgives attacker (Second Lead)

April 26th, 2009 - 6:32 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh Ahmedabad, April 26 (IANS) A young techie attempted to fling a shoe at Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at an election rally here Sunday afternoon but the white sneaker missed him by several feet. The prime minister later asked police not to press charges against the man.
The prime minister was momentarily distracted from his address at the Sanskar Kendra in Paldi locality as one of his Special Protection Group (SPG) personnel ran towards the spot where the shoe had landed. The shoe landed about 20 feet away.

This is the fourth occasion when shoes have been hurled at political leaders in the past month.

Security personnel soon overpowered the man, identified as Hitesh Chauhan, a city-based computer engineer in his mid-20s.

Police said Chauhan was sitting near the press gallery in the first row. He was whisked away by police for questioning, a senior crime branch official said.

Chauhan says he does not belong to any political group, the official added. It was, however, not immdediately clear what was the provocation or the issue that the man wanted to protest against but it seems the man was venting against Congress party activists who had allegedly assaulted him.

On the podium with the prime minister was Gujarat’s Leader of Opposition Shaktisinh Gohil and other senior state-level Congress leaders.

There was no commotion after the shoe was flung and the meeting went on as scheduled with more than 500 people listening to the prime minister who spoke about the achievements of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government.

This was one more attempt at show-flinging in the Lok Sabha election campaign. Home Minister P. Chidambaram, Congress MP Naveen Jindal and Bharatiya Janata party (BJP) prime ministerial candidate L.K. Advani also being targeted.

In New Delhi, spokespersons of the Congress as well as the BJP condemned Sunday’s incident.

The prime minister has told police not to press charges against the young man, it was learnt.

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