New Delhi: High drama was witnessed at the AICC headquarters here on Monday when a person posing as a journalist tried to attack party General Secretary Janardhan Dwivedi with a shoe, apparently miffed over the treatment meted out to Ramdev.

The person, who was carrying an identification as Sunil Kumar of Nav-Sanchar Patrika from Rajasthan, came close to Dwivedi, removed his shoe and stopped short of hitting him with it.

The middle-aged man, wearing a striped T-shirt, was heard telling Dwivedi that "you cannot stop us from asking questions."

The man was immediately caught by the a AICC staffer and some journalists and was removed from the briefing hall while being beaten up. He was then taken away by police.

Dwivedi described the incident as "pre-planned" attack as he was to speak against Ramdev and his agitation which Congress leader said was conducted at the behest of Sangh Parivar.

"Whatever, I said has been proved by this one man. Had this (attack) not been orchestrated, the person would not have asked favourable questions so that there were no doubts," he said.

The incident was a reminder of the shoe gate incident involving Home Minister P Chidambaram.

A shoe was thrown at Chidambaram on April 7 by a journalist at a press conference. Chidambaram was replying to a question posed by a Sikh journalist on the Central Bureau of Investigation’s (CBI) clean chit to Congress leader Jagdish Tytler on the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.
“Please take him away,” the minister had said as the Congress party workers immediately took the white turbaned journalist away.

Attack bid shows desperation in RSS, BJP

The attempted shoe attack on Congress general secretary Janardan Dwivedi shows an element of desperation within the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Congress spokesman Manish Tewari said.

“The manner and tenor in which he (assailant) was asking question was very abrasive. Then he decided to get on to the dais and started brandishing his shoe. While he was doing that, journalists present in the meeting collared him and dragged him out. He was hysterical and we couldn't make out what he was saying,” said Tewari, who was sitting beside Dwivedi at the time of the incident.

“It is pretty obvious given the facts that there is an element of desperation in the RSS and the BJP. I wouldn't really put it past that when the investigations take place, the person eventually emerges to be an RSS or BJP activist because these tactics are not alien to the way they do their politics,” he added.

Calling the attack 'orchestrated', Tewari said: “It's obvious that somebody decided to smuggle himself to the Congress briefing and strategically placed himself at the door because invariably no journalist positions himself there because you neither get a sight of the dais nor are you able to catch the eye of the person who is briefing. It was an orchestrated, pre-meditated attack.”

Dwivedi was busy slamming yoga guru Ramdev and the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) at the Congress headquarters here when the incident took place in the full view of TV cameras. It is the latest in a string of shoe-related assaults or bids to attack public figures in India.

After the incident, Sunil Kumar was taken to the Tughlak Road police station. The Congress leader later continued with his address to the media.

Shoe hurler was never a journalist

Meanwhile, it has been ascertained that the man who tried to attack Dwivedi with a shoe by posing as a journalist of a Rajasthan fortnightly is not associated with any newspaper in the state.

Hailing from Dhod area in Sikar district, Sunil Kumar used to teach English in some schools in Sikar and Jhunjhunu.

Kumar, who was carrying an identification of Navsanchar Patrika from Rajasthan, came close to Dwivedi, removed his shoe and stopped short of hitting him with it.

Mukesh Moond, owner of Navsanchar Patrika in Jhunjhuju who also runs a coaching institute, said that Kumar used to teach in his institute but never worked for the newspaper.

"He was not a journalist but a teacher in my institute for competitive exams. He taught for around three-four months and left some six months ago because timings of the institute did not suit him," he said, adding, that Kumar has also taught in several schools in the district.

Jhunjhunu PRO Sawai Singh and his Sikar counterpart Rajkumar Parrem said that Kumar was never seen in media circles in both the districts.

Director of Vidhya Bharti School in Sikar, Balwant Singh Chirana, said Kumar was a person with aggressive behaviour and had taught in his school during 1997-99.

Commissioner (Department of Information and Public Relations) K L Meena also said that Kumar was not a journalist.

Shoe attacks started with George Bush

Two shoes flung at the then US President George Bush by an Iraqi journalist seems to have literally kickstarted a global trend. The attacks on famous personalities by sullen people armed with nothing more than their footwear is becoming increasingly common with Congress spokesman Janardan Dwivedi the latest to be targeted.

Other famous shoe attacks:

Dec 14, 2008 -  Iraqi journalist Muntazar al Zaidi, upset with the American presence in his country, threw his shoes at the then US President George Bush who was visiting Iraq.

Feb 2, 2009 - A 27-year-old German student hurls a shoe at Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao during his visit to Cambridge University in Britain.

April 7, 2009 - Hindi journalist Jarnail Singh, miffed at union Home Minister P Chidambaram's refusal to discuss Congress leader Jagdish Tytler's alleged involvement in the 1984 anti-Sikh riot cases, hurls his shoes at the minister at the Congress headquarters. The shoes missed the minister.

April 2009 - A Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) worker hurls his slipper at senior party leader Lal Krishna Advani in Madhya Pradesh, but misses target.

April 2009 - A slipper was thrown at Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa at a BJP rally. The slipper landed far from the dais.

Aug 15, 2010
- Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah was targeted when a suspended police constable, Abdulla Ahad Jaan, hurled a shoe at him during the Independence Day celebrations in Srinagar.

Feb 6, 2011 - Former Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf was attacked by a man who threw a shoe at him as he was upset over the US detention of a Pakistani national.

March 24, 2011
- Yoga guru Baba Ramdev had a close shave when a Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) trooper Mitu Singh Rathore hurled his boot at him. Rathore was angered by Ramdev's long speech on corruption instead of a yoga demonstration at a camp in Nagpur.

April 26, 2011
- A former lawyer from Madhya Pradesh, Manoj Sharma, flung a slipper at the former Commonwealth Games (CWG) Organising Committee chief Suresh Kalmadi inside the Patiala House court premises.

JPN/Agencies