At least 12 people have been injured after police used batons to disperse BJP workers and supporters protesting the visit of Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal’s visit to Batala town.
Around 100 metres ahead of Kejriwal’s stage at Gandhi Chowk, nearly 300 people raised slogans and waved black flags, alleging that the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) convener was trying to “vitiate Punjab’s atmosphere”.
Kejriwal was yet to reach the venue when the police took to the baton and also detained scores of the protesters, taking them away in at least three buses.
The protesters were led by district BJP president Suresh Bhatia. The injured include BJP’s Gurdaspur district general secretary Sunil Chachowalia.
Later, addressing a rally amid heightened security - also in view of a threat received at his Delhi CM office - Kejriwal delivered a speech to a significant gathering, many of whom were from nearby towns.
After recounting his work in Delhi in one year and making the promise to build a “a new Punjab”, Kejriwal claimed the protesters in his four-day visit were from both the ruling SAD-BJP alliance and the Congress, protesting together “after being paid by the Badals and Captain Amarinder Singh”.
Earlier in the day, Kejriwal visited the Golden Temple and Durgiana Mandir in Amritsar.
Kejriwal kick-started his 5-day tour to Punjab, which goes to polls next year, on Thursday and has ever since been touring parts of the state to campaign for his party.
The Delhi CM has been facing protests throughout his tour in Punjab.
There have also been cases wherein the rival parties took away families of farm suicide victims and drug abuse victims that he was schedule to meet. Yet, both the ruling alliance and the Congress have been insisting that he is no threat to them.