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Violent clashes outside BJP headquarters after Kejriwal’s Gujarat Tour
DELHI/AHMEDABAD/PATAN: Violent clashes erupted outside BJP headquarters in New Delhi on Wednesday after AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal was briefly detained by police during his Gujarat tour.
Police said that Kejriwal was detained for allegedly violating the model code of conduct that came into force after the announcement of the Lok Sabha election dates were announced by the Election Commission as he had not sought permission for his road show.
The police had to use batons and water-cannons at the BJP’s headquarters when workers of Aam Aadmi Party workers had gathered to protest their leader’s brief detention by the Gujarat police this afternoon. TV reports said that chairs were flung from inside the BJP office at the crowd in retaliation of stone pelting by the AAP workers.
Earlier, Kejriwal landed in Ahmedabad early in the morning and was heading to Kutch by road, meeting farmers in Hansalpur amd Bachuraji. He was going from Hansalpur to Sami and then to Radhanpur where he was detained. Hansalpur and Bachuraji farmers have been opposing the state government’s move to give land for Maruti plant.
“As per the model code of conduct, for any meeting or even holding road show the political parties have to seek permission from the collectorate and police, but the Gujarat unit of AAP had not taken any permission for the road show,” a police officer said.
However, local AAP leader and media coordinator H Nayak said that this was done at the behest of BJP, which has misused the government machinery. The support that Kejriwal was getting from the common public in the villages had sent tremors in the BJP state unit, which misused the police and disrupted the programme. He said that since morning even the media was being threatened by the cops on duty and were not allowed to air Kejriwal’s programmes.
Meanwhile, Kejriwal accused Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi of being “anti-farmer” and “anti-common man” after police detained him briefly.
The former Delhi chief minister hit out at the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate after his 30-minute detention at the police station in Radhanpur in north Gujarat.
The incident took place just hours after he began a four-day tour of Gujarat to test Modi’s claims that the state was a model of development.
“There is no development here,” Kejriwal told the media and a large group of supporters even as several Modi backers waved black flags at him.
“Modi is anti-farmer, Modi is completely anti-common man,” Kejriwal went on. “The only people who have benefitted in Gujarat are industrialists.”
He said Modi was making exaggerated claims of developing Gujarat while addressing election rallies across the country and was rattled because he (Kejriwal) was “exposing the tall claims”.
An Aam Aadmi Party leader told IANS that Kejriwal was detained allegedly on charges of violating the model code of conduct which came into effect after the Election Commission announced the Lok Sabha election schedule.
The Kejriwal aide said the AAP founder leader was on his way when police stopped the motorcade.
Kejriwal, the aide said, asked the police why he was being detained since he was not addressing any election rally, which would need official permission, and his car had no speaker.
“Still they took us to the police station,” the aide said. “We were kept in the police station for half hour and then let off.”
Kejriwal has said that he will tour Gujarat for four days in order to check the chief minister’s claims about the state’s all-round economic progress.
Kejriwal had said before leaving for Gujarat he would “expose” Modi if he found his claims to be fake.
Villagers wave black flags at Kejriwal
Arvind Kejriwal faced protests during his Gujarat tour over nomination of Narmada Bachao Andolan leader Medha Patkar for Lok Sabha elections.
When Kejriwal and his team, comprising AAP workers from the state unit, reached at a turning outside Shankheshwar village near Patan on Wednesday afternoon, 10 to 12 villagers standing by the roadside waved black flags at Kejriwal and shouted slogans, labelling him “anti-Gujarat”.
“Medha Patkar is against the Narmada project … Narmada is our mother and also the lifeline of Gujarat,” said one of the protesters.
The agitators are apparently livid over candidature of Patkar by AAP for the Lok Sabha elections. Patkar is the AAP nominee for Mumbai northeast constituency.
When asked, a villager, who participated in the protest, said he was supporter of BJP ideology but not associated with any party.
(Inputs from IANS and PTI)