New Delhi: As Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi wrapped up a one-hour speech before a rapt audience of about 1800 students at the Sri Ram College of Commerce or SRCC, a group of students outside raised slogans and protested against him, forcing the police to use water cannons and canes to push them back as they threatened to break barriers.
A group of pro-Modi students soon arrived to add to the chaos; they too raised slogans. The protesters gathered outside SRCC say the invitation to Mr Modi overlooks the communal riots in Gujarat in 2002 in which 1200 people were killed while he was in office.
In sharp contrast to the fracas just outside, the silence inside the sports complex was broken intermittently only by applause as Mr Modi told the growth story of Gujarat, exhorting India's young to help shed a "sense of despair" in the country and conquer the world.
This was Mr Modi's first public address in Delhi after his third successive win in Gujarat in December last year. Earlier in the day he held a one-hour meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who he said congratulated him on his win.