Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam leader and the party’s youth wing secretary Udhayanidhi Stalin was on Friday arrested after he launched his party’s election campaign ahead of Assembly polls scheduled for next year in Tamil Nadu, The Indian Express reported. He was released an hour later. The youth leader is the son of DMK chief MK Stalin.

The Thirukkuvalai Police said Udhayanidhi Stalin was arrested along with party cadres for violating Covid-19 norms as he did not seek permission to hold the meeting.

Udhayanidhi Stalin was in Thirukkuvalai, the birthplace of his grandfather and former Chief Minister M Karunanidhi, in Nagapattinam district to launch the party poll campaign “Vidiyalai Noki Stalin Kural”, which translates to “Stalin’s voice will dawn”. The campaign, which will cover 243 Assembly constituencies and scheduled for 75 days, is focused on the alleged administrative lapses of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam government in the state.

At the event, Stalin said that he has set out on the campaign to take forward his father’s message of ending the “darkness that has engulfed Tamil Nadu”, according to NDTV.

The police kept Stalin at a marriage hall along with party cadres. Soon after Stalin’s arrest, DMK workers blocked roads in other districts such as Krishnagiri, Coimbatore, and Villupuram, demanding his release.

DMK MP Kanimozhi targeted Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami over Stalin’s arrest. “CM Edappadi can go anywhere, but DMK leaders should not go anywhere,” she said in a tweet. “Fear has gripped the slave AIADMK government from the first day of the DMK’s campaign. I strongly condemn the arrest of Udayanithi, the Youth Secretary of the party. He was immediately released.”

DMK principal Secretary KN Nehru also said that the Palaniswami-led government was afraid that the party will come to power in 2021 and was trying to stop them. “AIADMK is conducting meetings in every district, won’t Covid-19 restrictions apply to them?” he said. “There was so much crowd during Diwali in markets and other areas. BJP is carrying out Vetrivel Yatra, did the government initiate any action? Why arrest only DMK’s youth wing secretary?” He added that the youth leader will take part in the campaign on Saturday following all Covid-19 protocols.

Earlier, Nehru had said that party leaders Kanimozhi, MP Thamizhachi Thangapandian, former minister Ponmudi among others will address 1,500 meetings across the state. MK Stalin is expected to start his campaign by January 2021, he added.