Lucknow, Jan. 11: The Aam Aadmi Party almost ended up with egg on its face on the day it kick-started its mission to spread its wings in Uttar Pradesh.
Kumar Vishwas, a key member of Arvind Kejriwal’s party who has promised to take on Rahul Gandhi in the Lok Sabha elections, had an egg thrown at him by a slogan-shouting youth at a news conference in Lucknow today.
But an alert volunteer — one of the 100-odd who arrived with Vishwas from Delhi on the Shatabdi Express — caught the egg mid-air, before it could land on the poet-turned-politician.
The youth, who claimed he was a Samajwadi Party member from Bijnor, was protesting against an allegedly insensitive poem Vishwas had written. He was overpowered by AAP volunteers, who roughed him up and handed him over to police.
“I am not going to be cowed down by such attacks,” Vishwas declared. “I will contest the elections bravely.”
The incident could re-ignite and haunt the AAP leader as he attempts to take on Rahul in Amethi, where Vishwas is holding a rally tomorrow and has promised to camp till the elections.
“I could have fought from a comfortable seat in Delhi but I chose Amethi. I want to give the message that the aam aadmi is ready to challenge dynastic politics,” he said.
Vishwas, who writes Hindi poetry in the Bollywood style, is said to be popular among the youths in Uttar Pradesh — something the AAP is hoping to cash in on.
In line with AAP policy, Vishwas had no police security but his army of volunteers kept an eye on the crowd that gathered at every station to greet him. “This is Uttar Pradesh (hinting at mafia and muscle power politics) and so the party asked us to keep a close watch,” said Shivam, 21, who refused to disclose his full name.
Shivam and some others were armed with walkie-talkies. “This is for better crowd management. One of our party supporters has a factory where these walkie-talkies are manufactured. He gifted it to the party during the Anna Hazare agitation,” said Nandan, another volunteer, denying the party had bought the gadgets.