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Arvind Kejriwal roadshow in Amethi on Today

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New Delhi: The author of a new biography on Narendra Modi, the BJP's prime ministerial candidate, says the leader was not reluctant to discuss the 2002 riots in his home state of Gujarat, where he is still chief minister. "By the time we got to the riots, it just arose naturally, and there was no pause at all. He was happy to talk about it in as much detail as I wanted and to whatever length I wanted," Andy Marino told the New York Times. (Read: For British Biographer, Modi Was Only a Phone Call Away) Mr Marino's book, "Narendra Modi; A Political Biography" was released last month at a time when opinion polls are forecasting that he will lead his party to its best electoral performance ever. In the book "Narendra Modi; A Political Biography", published by Harper Collins, the BJP leader says of the riots, which left more than 1,000 people dead, most of them Muslims, "I feel sad about what happened but no guilt. And no court has come even close to establishing it." A Supreme Court inquiry concluded as baseless the allegations that Mr Modi, as chief minister, fuelled the violence - a charge levelled at him by his detractors. A Gujarat court has upheld the Supreme Court report. When asked by the New York Times about how Mr Morino, a British actor and TV producer, managed access to Mr Modi, the biographer responded,"He is a very personable, open guy. Modi has given his number to ordinary voters, and they've called, and they've been put through. Or he has called back in an hour." (Read: New York Times article on Narendra Modi) New Delhi: Narendra Modi is responding to an SOS from Punjab today. The BJP's prime ministerial candidate will pack into his Friday, five strategically planned election rallies in the state. The whirlwind Modi tour comes at the behest of a desperate Akali Dal-BJP combine, now banking on what it calls the "Modi wave." Posters across the state feature Mr Modi with chief minister Parkash Singh Badal. The Congress and the BJP-Akali Dal are seen as neck-and-neck in the state, both battling anti-incumbency sentiments. The Congress-led UPA from its 10 years of rule at the Centre and the Akali alliance from its seven years of ruling Punjab. (NDTV Opinion Poll: near status quo in Punjab for Congress, Akali-BJP) The latter has the more tough battle, say observers. Mr Modi will address four rallies, before he hits Amritsar in the evening, where the BJP's top strategist Arun Jaitley faces one of the toughest contests of these general elections against former chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh of the Congress. Mr Jaitley, seen as close to Mr Modi, is at 61 contesting his first Lok Sabha election. The Modi tour begins in Pathankot, which is part of the Gurdaspur constituency, where the BJP's former MP and actor Vinod Khanna is contesting against the Congress' Punjab unit chief Partap Singh Bajwa, who he had lost to in 2009. The Akali Dal wants Mr Modi too. He will visit Bhatinda and Ludhiana, two of his ally's most important seats. In Bhatinda, Harsimrat Kaur Badal, sitting MP and wife of Punjab's Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal takes on her estranged brother-in-law Manpreet Badal fielded by the Congress. Ludhiana is a must-win because the affluent city is the source of much of the party's funding. Akali candidate Manpreet Ayali is in a fierce four-cornered fight here; the Aam Aadmi Party has fielded activist and lawyer HS Phoolka, most known for his crusade to get justice for victims of the 1984 Anti-Sikh riots in Delhi.