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Sheila Dikshit, rival trade charges

December 02, 2003 01:54 IST

In a post-poll skirmish between rival groups in Delhi, Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit and her rival Poonam Azad accused each other's supporters of roughing them up.

Azad was hospitalised in the evening after she was injured following a clash at a polling booth where BJP workers were demanding the arrest of Dikshit's son-in-law Syed Mohammed Imran for allegedly entering the booth unauthorisedly.

It began around 1700 IST when BJP workers saw Imran inside the polling station. He claimed to be there on behalf of Kusum Behl, an independent candidate from the constituency. BJP workers objected and demanded that the police register an FIR and arrest him for unauthorised entry.

On being informed, Poonam and her husband and BJP MP Kirti Azad rushed to the booth. Within minutes, Dikshit and her sister Rama Dhawan also arrived along with Congress workers and the situation became tense.

BJP workers accused Imran of threatening Poonam and demanded his arrest. When the police allowed him to leave the polling booth, agitated BJP workers clashed with the police and in the melee Poonam fell on the ground.

A number of people accompanying the chief minister were detained and later released, official sources said.

Poonam alleged Congress workers beat her up during the clash at around 1730 IST.

"Poonam fell on the ground as the BJP workers clashed with the police for allowing Imran to leave polling booth No 60 at Ashok Road," Kirti Azad told PTI. "She (Poonam) received a injury on her back and was admitted to the Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital," he said.

Dikshit, in a statement late on Monday night, alleged that Poonam Azad barged into the polling station along with armed musclemen and threatened Congress workers and agents. "As one of the agents happened to be my son-in-law, Syed Mohammed Imran, she singled him out for special treatment, having him assaulted," she said.

On reaching the gate of the polling station and after alighting from her car, Dikshit alleged, she "was surrounded by a large number of people led by Kirti Azad. I was severely and deliberately jostled by these people with Azad openly exhorting them.

"One of them grabbed hold of my shawl, pulling it with tremendous force, wrenching my neck, almost choking me. My Personal Security Officer came to my aid and rescued me, helping me to get inside the polling station precincts.

"Azad and his men followed me inside and he continued to hurl expletives at me. Senior police officials were present inside the polling station."

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