Kejriwal Says Protests Expected, Police Tighten Security

Kejriwal Says Protests Expected, Police Tighten Security
File-PTI Photo/Santosh Hirlekar
Kejriwal Says Protests Expected, Police Tighten Security

With Arvind Kejriwal facing the wrath of protesters time and again, local police here have decided to further increase its security arrangements for his poll campaign and is keeping a close watch on a 24-hour basis.

The Aam Aadmi Party chief was again interrupted by protesters who raised pro-Modi slogans when he went out for a 'morning walk meeting' at Company Bagh here today.

A large group of protesters shouted "Har Har Modi" and other slogans in support of the BJP prime ministerial candidate and called the former Delhi Chief Minister a "bhagoda" who was in town after fleeing Delhi.

Kejriwal, however, wrote these protesters off by calling them "young boys who are on the wrong path" and said there had to be scope for non-agreement.

He said such protests were not unexpected as he was challenging the "biggest vested interests in the country", and offered to sit with the protesting "boys" to discuss their complaints against him.

Senior AAP leader Anand Kumar also downplayed the protest, saying this was a small group of people and that there was no large-scale opposition being faced by the party.

Kejriwal and other AAP leaders also undertook a march today to reach out to the people, for which police increased security provisions, although a crowd of people shouting slogans against him also moved along with them.

The former Delhi chief minister urged his supporters to maintain peace and to not indulge in violence.

Kejriwal is in the fray against BJP Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi from the Varanasi Lok Sabha seat, which will go to polls on May 12 in the last phase of elections.

Last night the AAP leader got stuck in a crowd of angry protesters shouting pro-Modi slogans. The police managed to whisk him away only after they used mild force to disperse the mob.

The local police have asked the AAP to share with them a detailed schedule of their campaigns so that necessary security arrangements can be made at every place Kejriwal visits, at any time, a senior officer said, adding that Kejriwal has been often going astray from his declared itinerary and moving around without the knowledge of police personnel accompanying him for security.

Besides police personnel, local intelligence unit officers are also keeping a close watch on Kejriwal's every movement although he has been able to dodge them quite a few times, admitted one of the personnel in his security cordon.


Senior police officers, on condition of anonymity, said that the blame for last night's incident partly also goes to Kejriwal himself, as he refused to leave the location when the crowd of protesters began to swell up.

Kejriwal, who has been subject to protests and assaults on many occasions earlier too, including in Delhi, told his supporters and the local police last night that he would not leave the spot of protest and instead offered to give flowers to the protesters.

Till late hours last night, senior police officers discussed the situation among themselves and also with the AAP functionaries, who said that they would not escape from such protesters as they were coming across such people on a regular basis.

While AAP leaders alleged involvement of BJP workers in the incident, the saffron party distanced itself from the episode. AAP leaders claimed that this showed the frustration with in BJP ranks over Kejriwal's growing popularity.

In a counter attack, local BJP leaders said it was the AAP and Kejriwal which was fond of controversies.

The incident took place last night when Kejriwal stopped at a famous paan shop near Benaras Hindu University after returning from campaigning in nearby villages.

As Kejriwal was chatting with people near the paan shop, a crowd gathered and started shouting pro-Modi slogans.

The protesters turned aggressive but no harm was caused to Kejriwal, as police reached the spot soon and intervened to disperse the crowd, police said, adding Kejriwal was whisked away by the police from the scene.

According to police, there were around 500 to 600 people in the crowd but there was no lathicharge. However, some locals claimed that there was a lathicharge conducted by the police.

Police later filed complaints against "unidentified" people for the incident, while a few protesters were also questioned.

Later in the night, City SP Rahul Raj came to the place where Kejriwal has been staying to inquire about the incident.

He also asked AAP functionaries to ensure that they inform police about Kejriwal's itinerary to avoid a repeat of such incidents.

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