Having being relegated to the sidelines after the Lok Sabha elections, the BSP Monday made its presence felt in the protest politics as it held its first-ever dharna in a decade outside the Assembly. The party leaders, however, kept the agitation under control, and workers resorted to sloganeering in which Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav was dubbed “weak” and Prime Minister Narendra Modi criticised over “price rise”.
An hour-and-a-half-long dharna, which started from 10 am, was held under the presence of a massive police force which mostly remained a spectator to BSP’s “controlled” agitation amid an in-progress Assembly session as the workers neither blocked the road nor clashed with the police.
Led by senior leaders, including former UP minister Naseemuddin Siddiqui and party state president Ram Achal Rajbhar, BSP workers chided the central government over its policies. “Mehengi sabji, mehengi rail, yeh dekho Modi ka khel” remained a persistent slogan with the Budaun incident drawing a scathing remark – Akhilesh tere raaj mein, lashen latakti baag mein.
“Akhilesh Yadav is a weak chief minister. Under his regime, even the District Magistrates are not safe. One of them recently lost his eye in a clash (in Moradabad), which was a part of the conspiracy being played out by the SP and the BJP,” Rajbhar said.
Targeting the BJP government, the state president alleged the party has not taken any steps so far to meet its electoral promises. “The central government is playing games with the public. It has failed to stop inflation because it has to favour all those businessmen who funded the party during the (Lok Sabha) election. Despite hoarding leading to price rise, the Centre is not taking stern action as it would affect its vote bank.”
Siddiqui, who said dharna was a “protest under law” and “unlike (those held by) BJP and SP who have the habit of violating law”, targeted the state government on “poor law and order” and the “rise in crimes against women”.
About party chief Mayawati’s absence, a leader informed “she is in Delhi to raise the issue of vegetable hoarding in the Rajya Sabha”.
Interestingly, as the BSP’s dharna closed peacefully, BJP’s Mahila Morcha took the same spot later in the day to protest against the law and order situation, only they appeared to be proving the BSP’s claim of being in the “habit of violating law (through protests). Accusing the state government of being “unable to control incidents of crime against women”, BJP workers blocked the road, leading to traffic jam on the main Vidhan Sabha Marg for hours.