- Protests across UP, Samajwadi Party workers clash with police
- Akhilesh Yadav stopped from flying to Prayagraj for university event
- Yogi Adityanath said decision was taken to prevent law and order problems
The 'grounding' of Samajwadi chief Akhilesh Yadav at Lucknow airport has brought his party workers on the warpath across the state. Mr Yadav was on way to the Allahabad University for a function, but was physically stopped by the police from boarding a special flight to Prayagraj, 200 km from Lucknow.
Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said the government had taken action after a request from the university, which was apprehensive about a law and order situation. Mr Yadav's party called it an attempt to kill democracy.
Within hours, protests swept through Prayagraj, Jaunpur, Jhansi, Kannauj, Balrampur, Jalaun, Azamgarh and Gorakhpur and state capital Lucknow.
Samajwadi Party supporters on a spree of violence vandalised vehicles and clashed with the police when they came to control the mob. In Prayagraj, parliamentarian Dharmendra Yadav was injured in lathicharge by the police, the party claimed.
In state capital Lucknow, protesters gathered outside the assembly complex and the Governor's House. Others rushed to the airport, the Ground Zero of the trouble.
At Gorakhpur, the home turf of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, roads were blocked by a slogan shouting mob.
Mr Yadav's tweets on his experience, and the photos and videos posted by his party's media cell, had also incensed the opposition parties, which took on the ruling BJP in the parliament and the state assembly. In Rajya Sabha, members of the SP and the other opposition parties held protests over the incident, disrupting the House proceedings.
After a noisy protest in the assembly, Samajwadi Party legislators held a sit-in protest outside the Raj Bhawan against what they called the "undemocratic behaviour" of the BJP government.
They relented only after Governor Ram Naik assured them of a meeting tomorrow.
Photos tweeted by Mr Yadav showed police officers blocking his path to the flight. A video tweeted by his party showed the confrontation that followed.
In Facebook post, Mr Yadav dubbed it the "remote control politics of two-and-a-half-men".
"I understand the need to ensure the safety of people and property and would never do something to endanger either knowingly. But, to be stopped from speaking, from asking questions that are on everyone's lips - to be prevented from engaging with the youth is just another clear sign of how scared the government is, his post read.