The leader of the Aam Aadmi party, Gopal Italia, was detained by Delhi police on Thursday after a furore over alleged “derogatory” comments by him against Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The National Commission on Women (NCW) had previously made an announcement asking the Gujarat president of the AAP to appear before the commission for a personal hearing on Oct. 13.
Two old videos of Italia have recently surfaced, one in which he criticizes Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s politics and abuses his government, and another in which he tells women that “temples and kathas (religious discourses) are breeding grounds of exploitation” where they will gain nothing, and advises mothers and daughters not to go to temples if they want development and respect.
The Commission took note of the video on PM Modi video on Sunday, after the clip was shared on Twitter by BJP leader Tajinder Bagga. The Commission stated in the message: “The language used by Italia is linguistically biased, misogynistic and extremely embarrassing, objectionable and inappropriate for you.”
In defense of Italia, AAP Gujarat’s co-responsible and Rajya Sabha MP Raghav Chaddha said on Monday: “If Italia has made a mistake, then take action in accordance with the law, but the fact is that the BJP is starting to feel it is losing ground.” in Gujarat, because the popularity of Arvind Kejriwal and AAP is increasing every day, and the ruling party is not in a position to give satisfactory answers to core issues, and so to divert people’s attention, it pulls an old video clip emerged to fix the AAP leader in a false case.”
BJP media coordinator Yagnesh Dave took a hard look at Italia, claiming it showcased the culture of AAP and Italy, “such a person has no right to live in India who insults the Prime Minister of India,” Dave had said.
AAP employees gather outside the NCW office
On Thursday, Italia said the videos he was involved with were not his and had been tampered with. He also accused the BJP of “hatting” the Patidar society. “The @NCWIndia chief threatens to put me in jail. What can the Modi government give to the Patel community other than prison. BJP hates Patidar society. I am a descendant of Sardar Patel. Don’t be afraid of your prisons. Put me in jail,” the AAP leader said in a message on Twitter.
. @NCWIndia जेल में डालने की धमकी दे रही है। पटेल समाज को जेल के सिवा दे ही क्या सकती है। समाज से नफ़रत करती है। पटेल का वंशज हूँ। से डरता। मुझे में। को भी बुला लिया है। है।
— Gopal Italia (@Gopal_Italia) October 13, 2022
Meanwhile, NCW chief Rekha Sharma claimed that AAP employees caused a stir outside her office after her action. The head of the commission later left the premises. Delhi police sources confirmed the incident and said a large number of workers from the Aam Aadmi Party gathered outside the NCW headquarters in Jasola.
— Rekha Sharma (@sharmarekha) October 13, 2022
The NCW later stated that the way in which the office was ‘gheraud’ was incorrect and that a report had been made.
The ‘Patidar’ Defense
The AAP has just grappled with a controversy over Hindu gods and goddesses, with the party recently removing a minister in Delhi to quell the BJP’s anger over Rajendra Pal Gautam’s comments and actions. After the incident, AAP convenor Arvind Kejriwal compared his struggle to that of Lord Krishna against Kansa.
But this time, the AAP appears to be standing next to Italia, a young 33-year-old leader from the politically important Patidar community, who is a crucial vote bank in Gujarat’s upcoming elections.
However, according to a report by Indian Express, this is not the first time Italy has faced controversy. In January 2017, as the newly elected BJP government was settling in after a tough election campaign against Patidar’s anger, an audio clip of Italia, when a contractual tax official was posted in Dhandhuka of Ahmedabad district, posing as a cop. and the then Deputy Prime Minister called on Nitin Patel to complain that the changes to the prohibition policy were going viral. Italia was fired after being accused of impersonation. He told The Indian Express at the time that he was pretending to be a cop out of “nervousness”.
Italia had previously worked for the Gujarat Police Force but as Lok Rakshak Dal Jawan on contract in Ahmedabad. He had lost his job after throwing a shoe while serving MoS (Home) Pradeepsinh Jadeja.