Two held for carrying knives into Modi's UP rally venue
Two men were detained Thursday for carrying large knives into the venue of a rally in Uttar Pradesh to be addressed in the afternoon by BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, police said.
The men were detained hours before the Shankhnad rally of the Bharatiya Janata Party was to begin in Gorakhpur, ahead of the arrival of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.
The men, both in their mid-40s, were whisked away by policemen to the Chilwataal police station nearby for interrogation.
Policemen found the knives in bags carried by the men, while frisking them after a metal detector set off an alarm.
"They had no explanation for why they were carrying the knives, but claimed that they had only come to hear Narendra Modi, and meant no harm," an official said.
Heavy police presence was in place to ensure fool-proof security at the venue of the rally.
Keeping in view the security threat to Modi, the state police had dispatched seven additional companies of the Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) to guard the rally venue. This included four officials of superintendent of police (SP) rank, 8 additional SPs, and 13 deputy SPs.
Modi has so far addressed four rallies in Uttar Pradesh -- at Kanpur, Jhansi, Bahraich and Varanasi -- in a bid to galvanise party cadres. The BJP holds 10 of the state's 80 Lok Sabha seats at present, and hopes to revisit the 57-seat tally of the 1990s in the polls this year.
Modi is spending considerable time in these rallies and his close aide and former Gujarat minister Amit Shah has been made the Uttar Pradesh in-charge by the party's national leadership.