New Delhi: An auto-rickshaw driver yesterday apologised to AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal for slapping him a day earlier, saying he had committed “a big mistake”.
“I’ve committed a big mistake. I should have never done what I did. I consider him (Kejriwal) as a god,” the attacker, identified only as Lali, told journalists after the AAP leader called on him.
The 38-year-old Lali gave a stinging slap to the former Delhi chief minister on Tuesday when the latter was campaigning in the west Delhi area of Sultanpuri. The man, who was roughed up by AAP supporters after the attack, had then dubbed Kejriwal as a “liar”.
The attack left Kejriwal with a swollen left eye. But he said later that he had “forgiven” Lali. As journalists watched on, Lali sought forgiveness from Kejriwal and his colleague Manish Sisodia. He also bent down to touch the feet of both Kejriwal and Sisodia even as they tried to stop him.
Lali said he had been wanting to meet Kejriwal for a long time and even went to his “janata darbar” when the Aam Aadmi Party ruled Delhi for a short period of 49 days. “I was unhappy and wanted to meet him (Kejriwal) but couldn’t,” he said.
Kejriwal and Sisodia were accompanied by AAP’s Lok Sabha candidate in the area, Rakhi Birla. After Tuesday’s attack, Kejriwal said he faced a threat to his life. “These attacks are scripted. When they (attackers) are arrested, they repeat the (same) script,” Kejriwal told the media.
“Why are all the attacks taking place only on us?” Kejriwal asked. “There will be more attacks, and we can also get killed.”
Kejriwal also called on 19-year-old Abdul Wahid. Wahid had punched Kejriwal during a road show at Dakshinpuri in south Delhi on April 4. Kejriwal quoted Wahid as telling him that he had been misled by “political forces”. When the AAP leader pressed for details, the young man clammed up.
He told Wahid not to be trapped by disgruntled politicians “who incite innocent youths for their vested interests”. Kejriwal presented flowers to both men. He also gave fruits to Wahid.
The AAP leader later called on Delhi Police Commissioner B S Bassi and asked him to track down those masterminding attacks on him. He also asked Bassi to speed up the probe. “Get to the masterminds and these attacks will stop,” he told Bassi, adding the latter pledged to personally monitor the investigation into the attacks on Kejriwal.
Speaking a day before Delhi votes, Kejriwal said he was not upset with the attackers. “They (attackers) are not to blame,” he said. “Both are from very poor families. They are being exploited (by vested interests).”
Kejriwal said he also had no grouse against security personnel who could not prevent the attacks. He reiterated he will not accept the security cover he is entitled to. Police said later that they had registered a case against both the attackers.