Workers protest against corruption,price rise
Around 4,000 BJP activists and leaders courted arrest in Punjab on Friday to protest spiralling prices of commodities,particularly the petrol price hike. The demonstrations were part of the nationwide stir,organised by the party,against runaway food inflation and maladministration of the UPA government.
While Rajya Sabha MP Balbir Punj and BJP MP Navjot Singh Sidhu spearheaded the protests at Amritsar,the partys national vice-president Shanta Kumar and senior leader Manoranjan Kalia were at Jalandhar and Punjab BJP chief Ashwani Sharma was at Pathankot.
Sources said that in Pathankot alone,around 1,000 BJP workers were arrested while nearly 600 were picked up in Amritsar. Shanta was arrested at Jalandhar along with Manoranjan Kalia and 19 municipal councillors.
Punj and Sidhu courted arrest along with BJP district president Anand Sharma,24 municipal councillors,the Yuva Morchas state president Rajesh Honey and workers at Amritsar,while BJPs state president Ashwani Sharma courted arrest with about 1,000 workers at Pathankot.
In Jalandhar,Shanta accused both Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi of protecting the corrupt. He also slammed the fuel price hike saying the government was misleading the people. India is not the only country in the world to get crude oil. All other countries do as well. Despite this,petrol costs Rs 59 per litre in Pakistan,Rs 61.70 in Sri Lanka,Rs 43.40 in Bangladesh,Rs 53.70 in USA and Rs 50.20 in Russia. In such a situation,only in India is petrol overpriced at Rs 76.53. This means that fuel prices are not dependent on the international market,rather on the failures of the union government, Shanta said.
At Amritsar,Punj claimed that after petrol,the Centre was planning to increase prices of diesel,LPG and kerosene. Addressing the workers at Pathankot,state BJP president Ashwani Sharma said: It is true that prices of crude oil have increased in the international market. The burden,however,can be reduced by suitably adjusting import and excise duty. Instead of doing this,Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee appears to be interested in getting more revenue because of the price increase in crude oil. The government can adopt a revenue-neutral policy and pass on the additional revenue to customers by reducing the consumer prices. We had done this when Atal Bihari Vajpayee was the Prime Minister.
According to Vineet Joshi of the BJP, prominent leaders who courted arrest include: state general secretary Kamal Sharma at Ludhiana,state general secretary Manjit Singh Rai at Bathinda,Rajya Sabha MP Avinash Rai Khanna at Sangrur and former minister Balramji Dass Tandon at Patiala.
DC road block causes inconvenience
JALANDHAR: Despite the city police making all arrangements for the protest to carry on smoothly,the blocking of roads leading to the Jalandhar District Administrative Complex (DAC),where the protest took place,caused inconvenience to commuters and people who needed to reach the complex for official work. I have come with my mother from Shahkot but police are not allowing the entry of our vehicle on this road. My mother is too old to walk in this scorching heat, said Jagtar Singh who had come to the complex to get some work related to the transfer of his property done.