Arvind Kejriwal violated the poll code of conduct in Gujarat, the Election Commission said, a day after the Aam Aadmi Party leader’s brief detention during a roadshow triggered clashes between the AAP and BJP.
“If you go strictly by law, Mr. Kejriwal violated the model code of conduct. The whole world knew that the code was in place after the announcement of the national election dates in the morning,” Election Commissioner HS Brahma said.
Mr. Kejriwal was detained at the city of Radhanpur in Patan, 170 km from Ahmedabad, on Wednesday. He was accused by officers of violating rules that make prior police permission necessary for political rallies. But the AAP leader insisted that his convoy consisted largely of media cars and did not amount to a political procession.
The Election Commissioner said the Patan district commissioner had said in his report that Mr. Kejriwal had been asked to seek permission for travelling with more than three cars on his road tour.
“We are going by that report. We will ensure that such incidents don’t recur. We will implement the law harshly and we appeal to pol parties not to use harsh language and action,” Mr. Brahma said.
Mr. Kejriwal is on a four-day tour of Gujarat for what he calls an assessment of Narendra Modi’s claims of exceptional development in the state that he has governed since 2001. The BJP’s prime ministerial candidate has held up Gujarat as an example of what he can do for the country.
Since, the AAP leader has faced black flag protests on the road and also an attack on his car while driving through Kutch.
His detention led to street battles in Delhi and Lucknow between workers of AAP and BJP.