Blasts in Indian city as crowds gather for Modi rally
Published 27/10/2013 | 09:19
At least six crude bombs exploded near a public ground in an eastern Indian city on Sunday where tens of thousands of people were gathered to hear opposition prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi speak, police said.
One man was killed and five people were wounded in the blasts that occurred shortly before Modi arrived in Patna to launch the campaign in the big heartland state of Bihar for next next summer's national election, CNN-IBN reported.
An officer in the police control room said there were reports of people suffering injuries. "There are reports of six blasts near Gandhi Maidan (the venue of the rally). There was one explosion at the railway station in the morning. All the blasts are of low intensity," he told Reuters by telephone.
"Some people are injured. They are being treated at the Patna Medical College Hospital."
It was the first outbreak of violence since Modi, the challenger from the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, launched an aggressive campaign to oust the ruling Congress-led coalition in the election which must be held by May.
Critics say Modi, the three-time chief minister of western Gujarat, is pursuing a partisan agenda and accuse him of turning a blind eye to attacks on Muslims in 2002 in his state. Modi denies the allegations and the Supreme Court has cleared him of any responsibility.
Sunday's massive rally was intended as a show of strength in Bihar where the governing party broke off a 17-year alliance with the BJP after it picked Modi as its candidate to lead the party, saying the nation's leader should enjoy the confidence of all sections of society.
Tens of thousands of BJP supporters, waving the party's saffron flag, streamed into the city in buses and special trains.
"Police were on high alert ahead of this rally. We had imposed restrictions on movement of vehicles near the rally ground," a police officer said.
"There has been no lapse on the part of administration. However, it is very difficult to manage such a big crowd,"