Indian media: Violence has no place in democracy

Arvind Kejriwal is confident of his victory against the BJP's Narendra Modi Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Arvind Kejriwal is confident of his victory against the BJP's Narendra Modi

Media in India say violence has no place in democracy after a man physically assaulted the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader, Arvind Kejriwal, on Tuesday.

Mr Kejriwal, who has consistently refused to take police protection, suffered a swollen eye after being slapped by an auto-rickshaw driver in north-western Delhi.

The former chief minister of Delhi later said he holds "no grudges" against the people who tried to hit him but called for identifying the "masterminds" behind the incidents, reports say.

"Is violence an answer to country's problems? let them tell me place n time. I will come there. Let them beat me as much as they want", he wrote on Twitter.

Mr Kejriwal has faced similar incidents of assault in the recent past and this is the second such case in Delhi in the last four days. The leader was slapped by a man in southern Delhi on Friday.

He is contesting the parliamentary poll against the Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) PM candidate Narendra Modi from Varanasi.

Newspapers have captured the incident in front-page headlines along with photographs of Mr Kejriwal with a swollen eye.

"Delhi campaign ends in drama, Kejriwal slapped by auto driver", reads the headline in the Hindustan Times.

Newspapers and political parties have strongly condemned the incident

"There is little doubt that the slap on Arvind Kejriwal is a blot on India's democracy. As India is in the process of electing its 16th Lok Sabha (lower house of parliament), incidents such as the repeated attacks on AAP leaders only take away the focus from the actual issues for which the MPs are sent to parliament", says the First Post website.

The Times of India says such incidents have become a "worrying trend" for the Aam Aadmi Party.

Analyst Pushpesh Pant says the assault reflects the "violent mentality that is creeping into the Indian mindset".

Politicians and fashion

Meanwhile, both the ruling Congress and the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have condemned the attack, even as they criticised the AAP.

The BJP called the incident "scripted" while the Congress said it was an "expression of anger" by the people of Delhi, The Hindu reports.

Meanwhile, newspapers are calling on leaders to respect the authority of the Election Commission (EC) in the conduct of the electoral process.

This comes after Mamata Banerjee, the chief minister of West Bengal state, initially refused to agree with the EC's order of transferring some government officials.

The Hindustan Times says any attempt by political parties to "undercut the authority of the EC is tantamount to launching an attack on Indian democracy".

In other election-related news, the Congress party has announced the name of local legislator Ajay Rai to take on the BJP's Narendra Modi and the AAP's Arvind Kejriwal in the northern city of Varanasi.

Mr Rai says Congress party president Sonia Gandhi wished him luck and her daughter Priyanka gave him a "pep talk" for the upcoming election, reports The Times of India.

And finally, politicians are more paying more attention to what they wear this election season, writes The Tribune.

"Call it the television multiplier or the innate human desire to look good, more and more politicians are paying heed to how they fare on the dressing-up scale. While it might be far-fetched to assume that sartorial choices can make or mar politicians' electoral prospects, underestimating the wardrobe power would be equally erroneous", it says.

BBC Monitoring reports and analyses news from TV, radio, web and print media around the world. For more reports from BBC Monitoring, click here. You can follow BBC Monitoring on Twitter and Facebook.

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