Hours after getting him to issue an apology, the Gujarat BJP on Monday slapped a show-cause notice on its Ahmedabad legislator Balram Thawani for kicking a woman and asked him to explain why disciplinary action should not be taken against him.
Even as the Naroda MLA, who was caught on camera roughing up and kicking a woman on a street, insisted he did not hit her intentionally, his party strongly condemned his behaviour.
State BJP spokesperson Bharat Pandya said: “We condemn this behaviour which is shameful and unbecoming of a people’s representative.”
He said Gujarat BJP President Jitubhai Vaghani had issued Thawani a show-cause notice to “explain in three days why disciplinary action should not be taken against him”.
This came several hours after Thawani apologized for his behaviour, while in a rapprochement of sorts the woman in question on Monday evening went ahead and tied a rakhi to him.
“Vaghani immediately called up Thawani on Sunday night on knowing about the incident and directed him to issue a public apology. He has also sought his explanation,” Pandya said earlier.
Nitu Tejwani, a municipal ward in-charge of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), had gone to Thawani’s office in Naroda as part of a group protesting over water supply.
A video that went viral of the lawmaker kicking the woman shows Tejwani fallen to the ground after being roughed up by another man.
Witnesses confirmed that Thawani came out of his office when this man was beating her and joined him in kicking her. This only stopped after a passer-by intervened and slapped the MLA.
Talking to reporters, Tejwani, who also filed a police complaint against Thawani and others, claimed that she had gone to meet the MLA to represent about the water supply issue in her area.
She added: “Without reason and without saying anything, he (legislator) came out and started kicking me and beating me up and even slapped me.”
She claimed that her husband, who came to her rescue, was beaten up with sticks. Other women protesting over the issue were also roughed up, she said.
Thawani admitted that he did kick the woman but insisted that it was in self-defence and he did not intend to hit anyone.
“I got carried away in a fit of anger. I have apologized for my mistake. I will say sorry to her,” the BJP MLA said.
The Congress asserted that the ruling party, as well as Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, should personally apologize.
“The BJP must take strict action against the MLA,” Congress’ Gujarat affairs in-charge Rajeev Satav stated. “It is time women are protected from BJP leaders.”
NCP’s Reshma Patel, who had quit the BJP over six months ago, met Tejwani at the Civil Hospital where she was admitted. Condemning the “MLA’s behaviour”, she said she would stand by Tejwani’s “fight for justice.”