Clashes broke out between SP and BJP workers during a joint roadshow of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi in Varanasi on Saturday.
The roadshow took off from Kutchery at around 3 PM, close on the heels of a similar 'show of strength' by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his Lok Sabha constituency. Modi was on his way to offer prayers at two of the fabled temples of the ancient city. As the procession reached Chaukaghat, with Gandhi and Yadav perched atop an open bus and a swarm of supporters marching on foot, SP workers came face to face with members of BJP which has set up a media centre nearby.
Tempers flared and workers of both parties started yelling and hurling stones at each other. The situation was soon brought under control as policemen deployed along the route resorted to lathicharge.
The roadshow thus went unhindered.
The Gandhi-Yadhav duo was soon joined by UP Chief Minister's wife and SP MP Dimple Yadav, amid a huge round of applause from the crowds.While the Congress vice president and the UP CM have held many roadshows during the ongoing state assembly elections, it was for the first time that the Kannauj MP was joining them on the same platform.
The leaders paused frequently to wave at the people standing in large numbers on the streets or peering through roofs, windows and balconies of their houses.
The 10-km-long roadshow is scheduled to end at Maidagin area of the city, where Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address a rally later in the evening. Huge deployment of force is in place around Town Hall, the venue of the rally.