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Signature Bridge inaugurated amid ruckus

twitter-logo PTI        Last Updated: November 4, 2018  | 23:42 IST

(Eds: Updating with more details) New Delhi, Nov 4 (PTI) The much-awaited Signature Bridge, connecting Wazirabad across the Yamuna to the inner city, was inaugurated amid a surcharged atmosphere Sunday with a scuffle breaking out between the Delhi BJP chief and AAP supporters and both sides blaming each other for the incident, even as Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal attacked the saffron party for creating a ruckus at the event, which he termed as "unprecedented". During the event, Kejriwal attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while praising the country's first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, saying the nation needed bridges, schools and hospitals and not temples and statues. High drama prevailed before the inauguration of the bridge with Delhi Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Manoj Tiwari, also the Member of Parliament from the area where the bridge has been constructed, and scores of his supporters and some Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) workers getting into a scuffle, followed by a blame game between both sides. While Kejriwal accused the BJP of creating "chaos" at the site and his deputy alleged that Tiwari threw water bottles at the chief minister, the saffron party charged AAP MLA Amanatullah Khan with using abusive language, pushing Tiwari and even threatening to "shoot" him. The Delhi Police claimed that it performed its task with "utmost restraint and diligence" and that "the main function was held smoothly without any disturbance". The Delhi Congress also joined the bitter tussle between the BJP and the AAP over claiming credit for the bridge, saying the Kejriwal government should have invited former chief minister Sheila Dikshit, the "real architect" of the project, at the inaugural function. Delhi Congress chief Ajay Maken alleged that the AAP government in the national capital had failed to launch a single project in its four-year rule and was simply taking credit by finishing those started by the erstwhile Congress governments in Delhi. Inaugurating the bridge, Kejriwal said, "Four days ago, the 182-metre tallest statue of the world was unveiled and today, this 154-metre-high bridge is being inaugurated. The country has to decide if it needs statues and temples or bridges, schools and hospitals." He was referring to the statue of Vallabhbhai Patel, which was recently unveiled by Modi in Narmada district of Gujarat. Kejriwal said the Signature Bridge reminded him of Nehru. "If Nehru had chosen to build temples and statues instead of institutions like the BHEL and SAIL, the country would not have progressed. The country will languish in the 15th century if temples and mosques are given preferences over science, technology and research," the chief minister said, adding that "the Signature Bridge has been completed only because there is an honest government in Delhi". Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia also alleged that "obstacles" were put up by the Modi government, which he accused of not contributing an inch to the bridge. Sisodia said if Tiwari was "so fond of" going to inaugurals, he should work in a constructive manner. "It is the Modi government's rule that the chief minister of the elected government in Delhi will not be invited to any inaugural function. We deliberately did not invite (Tiwari)," he said, while claiming that no one from the Delhi government was invited to the inauguration of the skywalk at the ITO here. Prior to the inauguration, Tiwari and his supporters allegedly entered into a scuffle with AAP workers. Kejriwal and Sisodia were not present when the scuffle took place. Kejriwal accused the BJP of creating "chaos" and the police of "virtually handing over the security of the chief minister and other ministers in the hands of hooligans". The BJP, however, accused Khan of using abusive language, pushing Tiwari and threatening to shoot him "at the instance of Kejriwal", adding that a police complaint would be lodged in this regard. "The policemen who were involved in the scuffle with me have been identified. The additional DCP-I of this area is saying that some AAP volunteer was injured. I will show them what the police is in just four days," an agitated Tiwari said. A video of the alleged incident emerged, in which Khan could be seen shoving Tiwari and scuffling with him close to the stage, where Kejriwal and his cabinet colleagues were seated. Tiwari claimed that he was going to give Kejriwal a bouquet when the incident took place. Khan denied the allegation of issuing any threat to Tiwari. "He (Tiwari) was trying to come to the stage when I stopped him. Why was he trying to come to the stage and why did the police not stop him? Tiwari's allegation that I threatened to shoot him is laughable," he said. Tiwari had earlier expressed his displeasure over not being invited to the inaugural function. Meanwhile, Ravindra Yadav, Joint Commissioner of Police, Eastern Range, said the main function was held smoothly without any disturbance. "Our staff on duty at the place of function performed their task with utmost restraint and diligence. Though there was slogan shouting, the police segregated the groups and did not allow any clash or violence to take place," he said, adding, "The situation was handled very professionally by the Delhi Police and not allowed to take an ugly turn." PTI VIT SLB UK TDS RC

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