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Arvind detained on Modi turf

Ahmedabad, March 5: Arvind Kejriwal, who landed in Gujarat today for a first-hand “check” to assess Narendra Modi’s claims of development, got a pre-poll reality check when police detained him for alleged violation of the model election code.

The AAP leader, expected to take on Modi if the BJP mascot contests from outside Gujarat, was taken into preventive custody in Radhanpur, in the state’s north, before being released after half an hour.

No charges were pressed.

The former Delhi chief minister had just wrapped up a visit to a hospital when he was detained on his way to Bhuj, in Kutch district, around 2 in the afternoon, hours after the Election Commission had announced the nine-day schedule for the Lok Sabha polls.

Sources said Kejriwal asked the police to give in writing the reasons for his detention. A police officer said the AAP leader was detained because his convoy had caused a traffic snarl.

Kejriwal later claimed there had been “orders from the top to stop me from going to Kutch” where farmers and fishermen have been agitating against the Adani Group, which owns a port, a special economic zone (SEZ) and a power plant. Local people allege the land has been given to the group at throwaway prices.

“Modi is rattled because his tall claims have been exposed. He is anti-farmer, anti-common man,” Kejriwal said.

The AAP leader started his four-day tour minutes before the Election Commission announced the poll schedule this morning. Lieutenants Manish Sisodia and Sanjay Singh also landed with him at Ahmedabad airport where hundreds of party workers welcomed them.

From the airport, the leaders left for different places to verify Modi’s “development claims”. Local AAP leaders said Kutch was on top of the agenda.

Kejriwal said the referral hospital he visited in Radhanpur, some 120km from Ahmedabad, was in a “pathetic” condition and had only one doctor, no nursing staff and no indoor patients. “Modi is so rattled that at a few places he sent some people with black flags to protest against us,” he said.

Kejriwal had earlier announced that during his visit to Gujarat he would assess the BJP prime ministerial candidate’s claims about development. “If there is indeed development, we can use this knowledge to bring progress in other states. Otherwise, the lie should be exposed,” he had said.

Gujarat votes on April 30.